Grupo Argos Foundation • Grupo Argos Foundation

Café Oso Andino, the project that seeks to protect, conserve and maintain the Andean Bear, achieves national and international alliances for its commercialization

9 September 2020
  • Coffee is produced by peasant families who live in El Águila, a municipality located in Valle del Cauca, who are part of the Conservamos la Vida program.
  • The program seeks the protection and long-term maintenance of Andean bear populations in Colombia.
  • The excellent quality of the second harvest of Café Oso Andino allowed its national and international marketing.

Café Oso Andino was born four years ago as part of the Conservamos la Vida program, which seeks to preserve the habitat of the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) in the Western and Central mountain ranges of Colombia. This mammal, considered by many to be the guardian of water in forests and moors, is in a vulnerable state and with a declining population, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the National Government.

Coffee is produced in the foothills of the Western Cordillera, on the limits of the Tatamá National Natural Park and is the result of the conservation agreements signed within the framework of the project led by the Fundación Grupo Argos, WCS Colombia, Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia, Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca and Smufit Kappa.

In this, its second harvest, Café Oso Andino achieved a production of more than 2,300 kilos thanks to the work of peasant families that inhabit the municipality of El Águila in Valle del Cauca and who will reach national and international consumers thanks to the alliance to its commercialization with clients such as Nutresa, Urbania and Café de Giniebra. The excellent quality of the production was key to the sale and even caught the attention of traders in Israel.

 “With this program we are making a very important contribution to the conservation of an umbrella species such as the Andean bear and to the income of peasant families that have committed to protecting the forests in the buffering areas of the Tatamá National Natural Park” , indicated María Camila Villegas, Director of Environmental Conservation of the Fundación Grupo Argos.

The Café Oso Andino is developed in close collaboration with rural communities, carrying out processes of productive strengthening of the farms and agreeing with the farmers the destination of some areas of their properties exclusively for conservation, with the aim of generating biological corridors so that the bear can move and play with ease. Through the project, these families receive tools and resources to improve their productive activities and advice for the production and commercialization of coffee in order to obtain additional income that allows them to strengthen their quality of life.

Other relevant achievements

Conservamos la Vida has signed 59 conservation agreements with peasants from the Western and Central Cordillera for the protection of more than 2,500 hectares of forest that serve as a biological corridor for the species and carrying out productive management actions in more than 2,200 hectares.

Additionally, it has carried out environmental education processes in 14 educational venues in the area that have allowed the generation of knowledge of the territory, environmental awareness and ownership of the project by the entire educational community.