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Q&A with Karla Baquero, grower of El Triunfo

As you might have read, this March is ‘Women in Coffee Month’ at Pact. We’re celebrating the accomplishments of women farmers, highlighting the gender inequity inherent in the industry, promoting some of our favourite growers, and raising money for Hand in Hand International.

Karla is the daughter of Siria, the representative for Asomuprisma. We could tell you all about her, but we asked her a few questions so she could do it herself! Grab a cup of her El Triunfo coffee - with its delicious dark chocolate and apricot notes! - and get to know this trailblazing grower:

Tell us a bit about yourself

I grew up in the municipality of Tello, on a coffee farm that my grandmother owned. My grandmother taught my father all about coffee farming and agriculture. When my parents, Siria and Carlos, got married, they bought my grandmother’s estate.

I studied for several years at schools in Nevia, where I finished high school. After graduating from college there, I began studying environmental engineering at Coorhuila University. I spent Monday to Thursday in class, and I worked on the farm from Friday to Sunday. My father was the one who supported me to study at university, and I was committed to working hard for him.

All my life I have lived in a coffee plantation. I even learned my multiplication tables inside the coffee lot!

What do you like and dislike about coffee farming?

I like the process of working with coffee. I like to see how coffee farming can generate employment and how success can be shared with people on the farm.

I do not like that the work is very physically heavy, and that because of the sale price of coffee, in many cases, the financial investment and the effort invested in the farm is not recovered.

Did you always want to work in coffee farming?

I always wanted to work with coffee, because it is the family’s heritage. It is what we know and love to do, although there can be very hard times due to market prices not allowing us to have a good quality of life.

What are your hopes for the future?

I would like to travel a lot. Travel, meet people, and learn from the world. I also want to have business skills that allow me to improve the farm and ensure a better future for my family.

What’s the most important thing your mother Siria has taught you?

Having character, and being decisive with your thinking. If she believes something, she commands respect. And to respect others.

What are your hobbies/other interests?

Spending time with my dad is very important to me - it can be any activity, but one that I can share with my dad.

Karla and her parents

What problems do women face in the coffee industry?

The main problem is that any decisions that women make, their husbands do not respect them. There is no credibility given to women. There is still a model in which the man is the one who rules on the farm. On the farm, the effort made by women in their farm is not valued - efforts which are essential to keep track of finances, cleaning, food, etc.

Do you think things are changing?

Yes. Increasingly, there is more awareness of women and their role on the farm. There are new plans, conferences, and training sessions for women and their families. It will not be easy because years-old traditions are not easy to change, but we are improving. If we compare the way in which my mother, Siria and I work on the farm, you can see the evolution, and that our contribution to the farm is increasingly recognised.

Why is your coffee called El Triunfo?

‘The Triumph’ was a farm of a friend of my father, who had very few financial resources and worked a long time to pay for the estate. After several years of paying for the property, he managed to pay off the loan and named it El Triunfo - “Triumph”, for the satisfaction of having managed to buy it. When the man became ill, my family and I bought the farm but kept the name El Triunfo because it was an example of our neighbour’s success.


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