El Salvador is one of the traditional coffee producing countries in Latin America and a staple of many high quality coffee roasters. Quality and volume have suffered in recent years due to coffee leaf rust, roya, and chronic underinvestment in the farms. El Salvador has endured one of the most devastating roya attacks in Central America, which reduced production by almost 50% in 2014; the dip in overall quality of the remaining coffee served only to underscore the severity of the problem.
Under these uncertain circumstances Virmax Mesoamerica has renewed our efforts to reach out to small and medium-sized coffee farmers in the departments of Metapan and Chalatenango in the Northwestern part of the country, near the border with Guatemala and Honduras. We have continued to provide technical advice, visiting farms nearly every week while continuing to spread the message that quality is the best route to higher incomes and long term relationships for coffee producers. We have helped the farmers improve their infrastructure both in wet milling and drying. And at the same time, before the end of this year we will inaugurate our new dry mill: Beneficio Montecristo in Metapan.
At Beneficio Montecristo we are installing a brand new purpose-built dry mill focused exclusively for working with high quality coffees. We are also installing 500 square meters of shaded raised beds to sun dry lots from small producers that do not have their own drying facilities. We also have a fully-equipped coffee lab where we will be able to evaluate the samples and small lots that farmers will be delivering during this crop.
By consolidating our operations in one place, and especially by being able to receive the lots from producers at the point of purchase, we will be able to provide quicker feedback, to better control the whole process and to maximize efficiency to ship coffees much earlier than in years past.
We are establishing our new center of operations at the center of the action, right next to the farms, where we can really have a day-to-day impact in the community. We are redoubling our efforts to ensure small and medium-sized farmers from these areas can start to develop long-term relationships with quality-minded roasters worldwide.
We encourage you to visit us in Metapan this harvest to see with your own eyes the future of El Salvadoran coffee.
Virmax Mesoamerica (VMA) was established in 2012 to source and export high quality coffee from small and medium sized coffee producers in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. VMA provides year-round technical assistance, cupping services and pre-financing to producers helping improve the quality of the coffee produced. During the harvest VMA sources the very best coffees, mills and exports them to the world's most demanding coffee roasters. VMA is part of the Caravela Coffee Group.