Félix Pedro López Blandón in his farm in Jinotega,
The land of lakes, volcanoes and coffee
Nicaragua, the largest and least populated country of Central America, is known for its bountiful volcanoes, stunning lakes, and unique ecosystems. After nearly two decades of peace, the country ranks among the safest in Latin America and is increasingly attracting tourists eager to explore its stunning landscape and rich culture. Nicaragua is also once again receiving recognition for its coffee, which has been central to the country’s economy since it was introduced in the 1800s.
A mid-sized farm in the coffee capital of Nicaragua
Since joining the AAA Program three years ago, my farm has already improved in terms of coffee quality and yield, better income and financial stability, and contributed to the overall well-being of my family.
In the department of Jinotega, Nicaragua’s “coffee capital”, Félix Pedro López Blandón runs Agricola El Comienzo, a medium-sized coffee farm with 10 permanent employees and 60 additional workers during the harvest. Along steep, fertile slopes that reach up to some 1,200 meters above sea level he grows the Arabica variety Caturra. Orange, mango, guava and avocado trees provide additional income. Since he acquired the farm 18 years ago, Blandón has worked to improve his farm and the livelihood of his family, overcoming natural disasters, economic crisis and political instability.
When he first learned of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program through an agronomist from the coffee supplier ECOM, Blandón was interested, but sceptical: “I was confident that it could help me improve the farm, but I didn’t expect that it would help sell more coffee.”
The Agricola El Comienzo, where the Arabica variety
Caturra grows along steep, fertile slopes that reach up to
some 1,200 meters above sea level.
Adopting best practices in sustainability, productivity and quality
After joining the program in 2010, his initial doubts vanished. Through extensive training and assistance offered by the AAA Program, Blandón has learned to adopt best practices in sustainable coffee growing and farm management while improving the quality and yield of his coffee crop, thus increasing his net income.
“Since joining the AAA Program three years ago, my farm has already improved in terms of coffee quality and yield, better income and financial stability, and contributed to the overall well-being of my family,” Blandón is happy to announce.
Much of this is thanks to more rigorous farm management. With the help of AAA agronomists, Blandón has designed and implemented concrete action plans focussing on farm productivity and working conditions, coffee processing and traceability. He has also committed to conservation efforts in order to preserve the biodiversity that abounds in the region.
“The AAA Program has enabled me to work towards productive sustainability while addressing technical, cultural and social needs,” he says.
Intensive personalised training through the AAA Program
- Name: Félix Pedro López Blandón
- Age: 55
- Farm: Agricola El Comienzo
- Location: Jinotega, Nicaragua
- Size of farm: 29,8 hectares (coffee)
- Joined the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program: 2010
Blandón appreciates the attentiveness of the agronomists from the AAA Program: “They go around the farm with you and give you recommendations on how to improve everything to do with running the farm. They look at everything from coffee varieties and how to manage the shade canopy, to ways of protecting the environment and improving social aspects of the farm. The support and advice that the agronomists have provided on technical issues have helped us to improve our production and reduce production costs, based on a relation of friendship, fraternity and trust.”
The AAA Program has also fostered an atmosphere of exchange among Blandón’s fellow coffee growers. “At the group meetings and training sessions, we are able to share our experiences,” he explains. “This helps all of us improve the way we run our farms.”