ASOPROKAN, Colombia

The Kankuamos are one of four indigenous groups living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains. They are joined by the Kogui, Arhuaco, and Wiwi peoples who all continue to honour their traditional cultural lifestyles in the isolated mountain regions. In the 1980s, the Kankuamos began organizing themselves into a united people that could carry more political and social weight in their region.

The Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta is home to 30.000 indigenous people and due to its climate variety and biodiversity was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1979.  The area of the Santa Marta Mountains is highly disputed territory.  Both leftist and right wing armed groups fight for control. It is an area that has been greatly affected by the narcotics trade and many Kankuamo people have lost their lives in the conflict. Responding to the need to protect their people and their heritage from outsiders, the Kankuamo people joined together to form the Kankuamo Indigenous Organization in 1993.

ASOPROKAN (Asociación de Productores Kankuamos) is the farmer association of the Kankuamo Indigenous Organization (OIK) of Colombia. Asprokan farmers grow a variety of crops such as rice and beans, fruits, coffee, sugar cane, and spices. ASOPROKAN╩╝s organic agriculture program began in 2006 and they were able to certify their coffee in 2009. In the same year, Just Us! met with producers from the Sierra Nevada region to develop direct relationships and are pleased to now feature coffees from communities with such rich cultural traditions.

Quick facts

Name: ASOPROKAN (Asociación de Productores Kankuamos)

Country:  Colombia

Date Established: 1993

Certified Organic: 2009

Number of members: 181 families

Altitude: 900-1800 meters

Total Area: 24 400 hectares

Harvest months: November-January

Estimated annual production: 250 tons of parchment coffee

Annual commercial supply:  7 containers (1500 coffee bags)