LIFESTYLE

Salvadoran Coffee Farmers Welcome Tourists

counterculturecoffee

 (counterculturecoffee)

In the United States, farmers have unearthed added income by turning their farms into tourist destinations. From pick-your-own pumpkin patches and apple orchards to corn mazes and dairy cow tours, finding creative ways to make money and keep the farm afloat has been, in some cases, necessary to the farm's survival; some farms in Latin America are beginning to follow this trend.

In El Salvador, coffee estates have struggled to make a profit due to the cost of coffee production and a dramatic decline in coffee prices. Coffee prices went from $300 per quintal (100 kg) to a low of $100 per quintal – but now list at $182 according to Salvadoran newspaper El Diario de Hoy.

Not helping matters, the 2011-2012 crops produced low yields due to a winter storm, which caused coffee plantations losses between 7 and 10 percent, however, Salvadoran coffee farmers, rather than giving up, are becoming more and more imaginative as they think up tactics to bring in additional revenue.

Some of the side businesses that have cropped up on Salvadoran coffee plantations include outdoor restaurants, hotels, plant nurseries, tours, and small zoos. Farmers say that these new ventures have the added value of bringing people to their plantations so that they can become acquainted with their particular brand of coffee.

According to Ana Elena Escalante, executive director of the Salvadoran Coffee Council, some coffee property owners receive financial support in their endeavors from the Multilateral Investment Bank, the Ministry of Tourism and the Council, which encourages tourism.

In the works: one coffee plantation, Entre Nubes Vivero Café, plans to offer itself as a location for weddings and will later open a hostel for travelers; another, Finca Santa Elena intends to open a bar although it wasn't made clear whether that bar would serve alcoholic drinks or coffee. My suggestion? Serve both by offering coffee cocktails such as Espresso Martinis and Mudslides made with an in-house coffee liquor. Create that, and I'll be sure to stop by on my next trip to El Salvador.

Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of Latinaish.com.

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Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of Latinaish.com.

 

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