‘Café Oso Andino’ A 100% Colombian Product That Seeks To Preserve The Spectacled Bear

The Andean bear or spectacled bear is in a vulnerable state and with its populations in decline, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), because the advance of agriculture and livestock has destroyed its habitat.

With the purpose of preserving the habitat of the Andean Bear , ‘Conservamos la Vida ‘ (‘We Conserve Life’) was born, a project led by the Grupo Argos Foundation in alliance with the Wildlife Conservation Society, National Natural Parks of Colombia, with the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Valle del Cauca and Smurfit Kappa, which ensures the protection of this species and whose results include the construction of conservation agreements with the communities that live in the western mountain range of the country, through which a world-class coffee is being produced, the Oso Andino coffee.

More Than A Product, It Is A Life Support

It has been more than two years since ten families that inhabit the rural area of ​​the municipality of El Águila , in the north of Valle del Cauca, and in the buffer zone of the Tatamá National Park, decided to give the Andean bears that roam the forests surrounding their farms,a break. And for this they allocated a part of their estate exclusively to conservation, in order to contribute to the formation of a biological walkway so that this mammal could walk and reproduce peacefully.

“To be enjoying this coffee is to see our work for the conservation of the spectacled bear materialise, whose presence in the forests guarantees the availability of water and the health of the ecosystems, but, fundamentally, it shows us that conservation can also mean better living conditions for the communities. ”, explained Ana Mercedes Villegas, executive director of the Grupo Argos Foundation.

The families, who had a total of 365 hectares to protect the transit of the bear, managed to produce 776 kilograms of coffee of the Caturra, Castillo and Colombia varieties, which were subjected to physical tests on the dry and threshed beans, and flavour analyses on the drink (cup tests), after which they obtained scores on its quality between 82 and 86 percent.

“Café Oso Andino is proof that we can protect our natural wealth and, at the same time, generate opportunities for peasant families, who are committed to conservation, to improve their income,” added Villegas.

Colombian Coffee Growers

The project motivates the peasants to dedicate a part of their properties exclusively to conservation, in order to create a biological walkway so that the Andean bear can walk and reproduce in peace. Currently, the biggest threats to this species in Colombia are extensive cattle ranching and agricultural extension.

Through the project, farmers receive training and tools to improve their productive activities, advice for the production of coffee that they can sell and thus obtain additional income that allows them to achieve better living conditions.

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