The municipality of Arboleda is embedded in the mountains of northern Nariño. From Berruecos Square, its municipal capital, you can appreciate the intense green color of the mountains, which produces an overwhelming sensation of peace and tranquility. Its climate, the breeze, the petroglyphs, its history during the Independence, the churches, the natural areas, the sunsets, the friendliness of its people, as well as the quality of the coffee produced by its lands, make the municipality of Arboleda into the heart of coffee tourism in the region.
Activities such as hiking, mountain biking, enduro (open-air motorcycling), kayaking, rafting, rappel and bungee jump are linked to coffee tourism. Nowadays, in the villages of La Cocha, Rosaflorida and El Volador, there are 5 farms that have been adapted to offer lodging service and provide the experience of an ecological coffee farm, that is, farms that stand out for the good use of wastewater, the collection of solid waste, the classification and benefits from coffee, and for
venturing into the issue of organic fertilizers.
“ The agricultural development has made possible the tourist infrastructure, which at the same time depends on the environment. In Arboleda, tourists come to the countryside, find tranquility and consume products, such as coffee, free of agrochemicals,” explained Ciro Rafael Delgado, mayor of the municipality.
The productivity of Arboleda depends on the coffee harvesting, since 95% of the land enabled for agriculture is destined for coffee trees, where the Castillo variety predominates and others like Caturra and Colombia.
José Daniel Muñoz Martínez, representative of the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers of Nariño, said that “Arboleda is an area of smallholdings. Coffee is managed as a family business, we are 1200 coffee growers and the whole municipality benefits indirectly: the baker, the milkman, the butcher, everyone. Here Nespresso has the largest cluster- group of producers in the region.
The coffee is exported to Switzerland and there they produce the Rosabaya Coffee Capsule, which has notes of red fruits. Thanks to a contest, I had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of Nespresso in Switzerland. Knowing where our coffee is coming from motivated me more to work for my region. Nariño’s coffee is now well known worldwide, the best, and now, because of our tourism infrastructure, the world can also meet the farmers who produce that same coffee.”
In June, the 6th Agricultural Coffee Fair took place in Arboleda, in which the Best Regional Cup Contest was held.
For Professor Yarumo, communicative icon of the National Federation of Coffee Growers, “this type of event contributes greatly, because it acknowledges the families that risked participating in the contest and because great opportunities can be found. Another thing that I highlight is teamwork: to come, share, enjoy, understand our roots and understand that the future is in the fields; the countryside is development, it is progress. We are the first ones that must feel pride and happiness to be who we are. When you talk about Nariño, you immediately think of an exquisite coffee and honest, hard-working people who dedicate their lives to their family, to coffee and to take care of the environment for their optimal agricultural practices.”
According to Manuel Fernando Peña, tasting jury of the contest and Chief of Operations at Almacafé Pasto, “ the regional cup competitions seek to motivate coffee growers to take ownership of what they have in their farms, realize they have very high-quality coffee and take part in contests at national and international levels, as well as to scale in other markets. This coffee analysis also serves so that they can have constructive feedback, so they may figure out ways they can improve. In the 200 initial samples that we received, it was possible to verify, once again, the high quality of Arboleda’s coffee. The winning coffee stood out for being very soft and having many positive characteristics, which have shown us a great cup score of more than 87 points.”
The winners of the contest were Manuel Jesús Rodríguez in first place, and Mery Eugenia Quistial, who took second place. Rodriguez admitted that “this cup test will help me improve my coffee. We must be well aware that the coffee that each farmer produces represents our municipality. I want to invite my fellow coffee growers to continue sending samples so that our coffee may keep on growing and improving.”
On the other hand, Quistial expresses that “only with these tests may we understand what we’re doing. I am very fond and interested in the cultivation of coffee, from its planting, what it is to grow and harvest, and all the process that it involves. I am proudly a peasant and a housewife, I work and sustained my family thanks to coffee. I want to invite all the women who work in our field not leave it aside.”
Among the 10 winners of the Best Regional Cup Competition, two pulpers, drying patios and monetary awards were delivered. Ciro Rafael Delgado, mayor of Arboleda, emphasized that the most important thing of the event “ is that coffee is given a price and a life of its own, that we’re gaining more and more value and that we’re placing more coffee in other markets. This generates employment and confidence in the farms that we have within the municipality. Each year we have more producers, who are better organized and have a greater capacity to produce high quality coffee. All this with the purpose of improving the life conditions of countless families, their income and the generation of employment, especially of women who are heads of their household. It’s good that from here and from other regions of the department we show our strengths ".