In the municipality of Chachagüí, 40minutes away from Pasto, there is a model of community coffee wet mill, place where coffee is processed, which stands out for being environment friendly, state-of-the-art technology and for promoting rural development. Villa Loyola is an agroecological farm owned by the Society of Jesus. At the head of the project is Father José Alejandro Aguilar Posada, SJ, who has vast experience in agroecology and rural development. “ In Villa Loyola and Suyusama,
which is the Jesuit foundation that manages regional sustainability projects, our strategic option is quality coffee because Nariño is a department of smallholdings and the farmer cannot be expected to improve his income by expanding the production area, what it may be done is improve the quality of the coffee ”, explained Father Aguilar, who is also the Principal of the School San Francisco Javier in the city of Pasto.
Villa Loyola works with technology from the company Penagos Hermanos, which is based in Bucaramanga, Santander, it has more than 125 years of experience and has excelled in the manufacture of agricultural machinery and specialized machinery for coffee wet processing (from cherries reception, to obtaining dried parchment coffee). The design of the community coffee wet mill and the ergonomic design of the plant, as well as the adaptation of the pre-classification, depulping, fermentation and washing equipment, are the result of the permanent dialogue and the joint work between the technicians of Penagos company and the farm staff.
“ We started the wet mill process by identifying the needs for Villa Loyola and based on that we make the more modern and ecological proposal, which will preserve the quality of the coffee by optimizing and standardizing the process. We analyzed the land conditions and designed what would adapt the best to the needs of space and type of coffee produced there,” said Cristián Hernández, commercial Executive of Coffee Projects in Colombia for Penagos Hermanos.
During the construction of the facility, Penagos Company supervised the entire work and adapted the changes required to the structure; since the beginning was proposed to use roofs for water collection and use of organic materials such as “guadua” (a Neotropics genus of thorny clumping bamboo) for the roof assembly. “We joined forces with Father José Aguilar to achieve a facility pleasant and functional. We contributed with all our experience in building community coffee wet mill and recommended the best technology; and they contributed with their ecological knowledge and wide experience in the use of coffee byproducts
which matched perfectly”, said Hernández.
Penagos visits the community coffee wet mill some times a year to monitor the results and, if is necessary, calibrate the equipment to assure its optimal performance. Their communication is permanent and necessary since the machines must be in perfect condition for the harvest season.
It is noteworthy that the equipment purchased by Villa Loyola has the latest developments in depulping and soarting “greens”, technology designed especially to process high quality coffees, patented by Penagos, which at today is recognized as the sixth most innovative company in the country.
José Luis Almeida, the mayor of Villa Loyola, stated: “Many farmers advised by the Suyusama Foundation make the wet mill process of their coffee on this farm. Penagos machinery is efficient because, for example, the days when the harvest reaches its peak, the machine can pulp 1200 kilograms of coffee cherries per hour, it means we have no problems related with work capacity. In addition, the pulper has an advantage and is it take out the hard beans from the flow circuit: green and dried cherries. The most important thing is that here we teach farmers to get quality coffee and support the region with this equipment”.
Another merit of the coffee wet mill designed by Penagos and Villa Loyolais the saving and re-circulation of water in the different stages, in first place, the Pulping and Sorting (UDC) unit, installed in the facility, ideal for special coffees, reduces in a 100 percent the use of the water, is a very versatile equipment that adapts easily to changing conditions of harvest, requires little area of installation, has a low energy consumption and is complemented by a pre-classification system that improves coffee cleaning conditions for its subsequent fermentation process.
On the other hand, the roof structure collects rainwater, which is stored in an underground tank. This water tank is used to feed the preclassification systems and at the end of the day it is used in the general cleaning of the equipment. This facility also has Ecomill technology for the fermentation. The agroecological experience of
Villa Loyola, with its special design, its ecologically friendly Penagos equipment, is a great example of organic agriculture for obtaining quality coffee —the Café Villa Loyola brand is positioned in the regional market— and how technology can be at the service of agroindustry to improve its processes and contribute to rural development, which is an element that enhances local, regional and national