The Rodriguez family has been running Agricafe since 1986. At that time, the family used to rent wet mills in the Caranavi region, buying cherries from 2,000 producers, and in 2001 they built their current wet mill, called Buena Vista, in Caranavi.
A dry mill in la Paz was constructed quickly, and the family started exporting operations. In 2012, a few years after the national drop in production, they decided to buy land and begin farming. They now have eight farms in the Caranavi region (60 ha) and five in the Samaipata region (60 ha). Up to 300 people are working for the company during the peak season. The Rodriguez family hires agronomists from different countries as consultants every year.
Agricafe produces coffee, processes it at the wet mill, then the dry mill, and exports it. They bet on a great vertical integration system to shorten the supply chain and make it more transparent and cost-efficient. In 2019, they won the SCA Sustainability Award in ‘Best Sustainable Business Model.’
After depulping, the “honeys” are dried on beds for a week before placing them into mechanical dryers that recreate day/night light to ensure a low and consistent drying without rain issues. More beds have been built this year; every single bed has its tunnel with a plastic sheet to cover it in case of rain. Although it rained a lot before the harvest (7,000 mm instead of the usual 2,500mm), the weather during picking was perfect, and it’s been easier to produce honey coffees this year.