On a hill overlooking the town of La Uníon is a white house, framed by papaya and peach trees. This is Rolando Cárcamo’s house, which he built a few years ago and where he now lives with his wife, Rosa, and their three children: Dennis, Rosita, and Dulce Analia.
After working with his dad in the coffee fields as a kid, Rolando now has his own coffee fields and is well-versed in producing coffee (he’s been doing it for 17 years!) His favorite part about the process is smelling the coffee beans after fermentation: the smell is strong, rich, almost overwhelming. It’s the sign of a job well done, and means that his months of planting, pruning, fertilizing, and picking coffee are paying off. Rolando grows the Catuaí variety, which is known to produce a high quality coffee. However, this variety requires more work to maintain the plant and prevent disease; but, Rolando knows that this is worthwhile because he can sell these high quality beans to Aldea Development.
The past two years Rolando has sold a large portion of his coffee harvest to Aldea. Before that, Rolando sold all his coffee with a co-op group of coffee producers, COCAQUIL. The group was able to leverage their numbers to sell their coffee for higher prices than individuals could on their own, but it was barely enough to make the profit worth the effort. He gets a much higher price by selling to Aldea Development.
With the extra money, his family has more financial security. Rolando’s oldest child, Dennis, attends the bilingual school with the help of a scholarship from the Fundación Amigos del Café (which works with Aldea Development farmers). But Rolando hopes to have enough money by the time his younger two daughters start school to also pay for their education. Until then, he is using some of the money from his coffee sales to start a cow farm with his father, which will produce milk and meat for the family to consume, with extra to sell.
Rolando expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to work with Aldea Development and his hope that the buying capacity and training programs of Aldea will continue to grow.