Located within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ´Coffee Triangle´, just 20 minutes from Manizales, Hacienda Venecia is a fourth generation working coffee farm made up of 200 hectares, of which 170 hectares produce coffee.
Hacienda Venecia is a commercial coffee business, incorporating production, roasting and worldwide exportation. This is a real working coffee farm – you won’t see any actors here!
In 2009 the family decided to open the farm to guests, with the intention of providing an educational and informative experience of both the coffee making process and life on a coffee producing farm. Whilst sharing their knowledge, it is important and valuable for the local community to be inspired by the worldwide experiences that a foreigners visit brings.
As well as the guests accommodation they also have 12 employee homes. Each of the homes has a ‘boss’ (Patron de Corte), the ‘boss’ lives with his family and coordinates the work of the coffee pickers. Each morning, at around 6.30am, the ‘boss’ leads his group of pickers (cuadrilla) to the coffee fields. They go to preselected areas of the farm and pick the ripest of the cherries. At around 5.30 pm the coffee cherries are collected and taken to the processing plant. The farm normally employs around 100 pickers, however, at the height of the season the number of pickers can increase to over 500.
The pickers are nomads, travelling all over Colombia harvesting many different crops – such as cotton, fruit, cocoa, and of course coffee. They travel to the various regions by bus or jeep, looking for harvesting opportunities. They are humble, hard working and happy people. If you listen carefully, you can hear them singing and chatting as they go about their daily work.
In 2002 Hacienda Venecia was the first coffee farm in Colombia to become UTZ certified. The UTZ certificate stands for sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. The UTZ program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment. Through the UTZ-program farmers grow better crops, generate more income and create better opportunities while safeguarding the environment and securing the earth’s natural resources. Now and in the future.
In 2013 the farm received Fairtrade certification. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.