We dare to share with you a dream that we have for the future. Colombian coffee has changed a lot in the last 80 years, shifting towards more technical, large-scale cultivation — with widespread use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, monoculture, and complete exposure (without shade trees). Producers also have increasingly migrated towards the cultivation of more hybrid varieties, which are more productive and resistant to pests, but produce lower-quality coffees. As a result, coffee rust is now largely under control, and productivity has increased — but not without a cost. Until recently, we, too followed this trend, believing ourselves modern, and thinking there was no other option.
These “modern” farming practices, however, leave soil acidified and eroded by decades of treatment with chemical fertilizers — every year requiring more and more fertilizer to maintain crop yield. It has also led to new pests that thrive in monocultures, driving farmers to become increasingly dependent on chemicals sold by large companies — while neglecting natural by-products on their own land that would nourish their soil and crops. Entire ecosystems are being destroyed by the clearing of millions of trees and the spread of monoculture, which degrades the vital biodiversity of our flora and fauna.
At Pergamino, we recently dove head first into experimenting with organic fertilization. We started with a pilot system covering 15% of the productive area of our farms, with the goal of optimizing our practices and hopefully moving all of our production to a mixed system, where we minimize the use of agrochemicals, only using them in a way it does not affect the balance of our soils and our environment. We hope to share our experience and prove to other small, medium and large farms that a more organic management is not only viable, it is the way to protect the future of our industry, our environment and our coffee growers. The road is going to be long and difficult — we will be in touch to share the journey.