New Cacao Plantation
Truffelinos is part of the establishment of a new cacao plantation
During the 42-year history of Truffelinos, cacao production in Colombia has evolved in surprising ways:
- The cacao-producing areas have expanded in the country, reaching new non-traditional regions.
- The planted trees are better selected and more resistant to possible pests or diseases.
- The procedures used during and after harvest are more technical and careful.
- The commercial distance between growers and processors has been reduced in such a way that today we can enjoy the true characteristics of flavor and aroma that each region has to offer.
- Cocoa, nowadays, is considered a «seed of peace», it is not only an excellent alternative to replace illicit crops but it is also a way to restore worn out or poorly maintained soils.
Therefore, Truffelinos, with the sponsorship of a group of European friends, has undertaken the planting of a new cocoa crop in the Arbeláez – Cundinamarca area.
Located in the Sumapaz province, Arbeláez is only 80 kilometers from Bogotá and is recognized for the variety of its agricultural production.
For many years it had an eminently panela (crystalized raw sugar) vocation. There were no less than 20 artisan sugar mills there and almost 100% of the farms were dedicated to the panela business. However, adverse conditions in this market forced the region’s peasants to seek other sources of income.
Sugar cane had caused significant damage to the region’s soils.
Today this has changed and it is possible to find varied fruit crops, some floriculture projects, a small amount of livestock, even some fish farming.
As an important innovation today it is also possible to find a cacao crop at «Cámbulos y Gualandayes» farm.
Arbeláez - Cundinamarca
Cámbulos y Gualandayes
It is the name of the first cacao-producing farm in the municipality of Arbeláez. In 2008 Mr. Roberto Vargas del Valle started the production of cacao despite not being a traditional product for this region.
By 2020, the Cámbulos y Gualandayes cacao farm has about 4 hectares with cacao trees in an agroforestry system in which there are also other products such as Lemon, Orange, Soursop and others.
The property’s name is derived from two beautiful native tree species, which adorn the region’s landscape when, in summer, they bloom.
Liuba and Rafael Cubillos are two young farmers from the region. Rafael is a systems engineer and Liuba is finishing her agronomy studies. They are co-owners of the farm «La Querencia» in which we plan to plant 1,000 new cacao trees. With the training and instruction they will receive in the
neighboring «Cámbulos y Gualandayes«, with the financial sponsorship of an anonymous patron and thanks to the facilitating task of Truffelinos, the goal is for these new plants to be in full production by 2026.
To all chocolate lovers, clients and friends of Truffelinos, we invite you to periodically visit this page where we will be presenting progress of the project.
Liuba and Rafael Cubillos
July 11th, 2022. Today we have great news! After exactly one year our first crop of banana is being collected. Rafael and Liuba are ecstatic happy and they feel proud, with good reason, to see the product of a year of hard work, dedication and extra love is certainly a reason to celebrate.
They want to say thank you to everyone involved in this process: To our sponsors for they trust and for financially backing the project, to our neighbor for guiding us with technical advice, to Truffelinos for facilitating this process, to our family for the lending us the lot in which we are working and to the Federación Colombiana de Cacaoteros for their technical assistance. And last but not least to nature itself for providing the sun, the water and the soil much needed for our production.
In the pictures you can see the very first banana bunch.
Every Saturday the siblings go to a farmers market in nearby Fusagasuga to sale their produce. The income from this banana means an extra benefit for the family from the project and will also provide part of the founding to sustain the cacao production.
Cacao trees are also growing strong and healthy. Back in March 2022, we planted the first trees and in this set of pictures we can witness how big they are now, between 50 and 90 cm tall.
Liuba is standing by three different trees. They do not all grow at the same rate, but we are getting closer to the day we can graft them with the selected variety of cacao, that at end end will be the producing one.
Trees on the field are organized in a grid format. Each groove is noted with a number and each tree has a letter. This is done so during the process the production and health of each tree is traceable and easy to control. So in the pictures to the right we can see L1-2A, L1 – 3A and L1 – 4B.