Efrain Huaranca / Arminda Tola Castro
Together all the way
Mr. Hualanca and Mrs. Castro run a coffee farm in Uchumachi, about an hour and a half drive from Caranavi Province. Once childhood friends, they started dating when they were 15 and married when they were 19. After 10 years of marriage, they are still very close.
They used to work in the city, after which they bought a farm and started growing coffee because they realized that coffee could be a good source of money.
In addition to coffee, the couple also produces a small amount of coca leaves (which are used to make coca tea). However, due to their location’s altitude and climate, low temperature could quickly end that venture so they focus the majority of the farm around coffee.
It was about six years ago that the two began to make various adjustments to produce specialty coffee, such as spacing out the trees and changing the fertilizer.
“When we first moved here, we started working part-time helping out at a coffee farm. There, we acquired a broad range of know-how and skills before starting our own business. Of course, we work in coffee production for a living, but the desire to work hard and produce quality products also drives us.”
The Efrains are gradually expanding their farmland and increasing production, but they do not neglect the simple tasks that determine the quality of coffee, such as washing and hand-sorting the green coffee beans.
“We put our heart and soul into our coffee, and when thinking about it being distributed to the world, we feel the need to increase the production volume and improve the quality. We would be very happy if people would support us by buying our coffee, because their willingness to drink it is our livelihood.”
The reserved husband exudes an air of a steadfast straight arrow. When asked “What do you like about each other?” Their shy smiles and answers are endearing; “The fact that he is a hard worker” and “The fact that she is always there for me.” There is a peaceful and gentle interaction between the couple, which goes on to say “Although we sometimes disagree, we never quarrel.” The slight embarrassment of giving us a coffee plant as a gift on our way home was also typical of them.
Their sons, who see their parents manifesting their dream of producing coffee while growing old, will surely choose the path of coffee production as a matter of course.