Gonzalo’s farm, La Secreta, sits very close to the Venezuela-Colombia border. Around here, it’s dangerous. This border is a smuggling route for gas bought cheap in Venezuela and sold for more in Colombia – and it’s where you’ll find the fugitives that come with the illicit trade.
This area’s also rife with cocaine production, and farmers like Gonzalo have an enormous pressure from cartels to abandon their farms so the land can be used for drug production.
As if that wasn’t enough, he’s battling another tough foe: climate change.
Due to extensive rain and showering seasons over the last few years that are completely out of line of what’s usually expected, white mould has begun to grow on his coffee trees. Wet mornings and warm afternoons allow the fungus to thrive – and this can mean dire consequences for a year’s crop.
But Gonzalo is resilient – to say the least. We’ve been working with him since 2015, and since then he’s made huge sustainable steps forward. He’s spent the last few years working with a local agronomist to prune his trees, allowing air circulation and sun exposure to ward off mould build-up.
He’s also started planting coffee trees on a piece of land that was deforested – thanks to the resulting rich soils, what was formerly pasture will soon be forest.
It’s incredibly important for us to continue buying coffee from farms like La Secreta. This way, we can show aspiring farmers that there’s a positive, profitable, sustainable future in speciality coffee and use the trade as a force for good.
We’ll also be with Gonzalo on his sustainability projects and encourage his planet-first decisions at every turn. Look out for the delicious results coming very soon on the Pact menu.