Ruben Mejia is the grower and owner at Villa Clara Coffee in the Caldas region, Colombia.
Improving root health
Before Ruben Mejia heard about Jiffy, he was looking for a way to improve his coffee plant nursery. He usually does his own plants and also sell plants to other growers in the region. He has always been very conscious about nutrition in the plants and also worried about root health.
A common defect in bagged roots, known locally as “pigtail”, causes many problems in the field, and causes a significant percentage to be lost. So, this was his reality before Jiffy entered the story.
Fighting plastic waste
The fact that many plants could develop “pigtail” and the movement of soil from his own farm and other farms, was becoming a problem when developing plants. Disposal of poly bags around landfills was also a problem, even though he had practices to improve this, they were never 100% effective, so the fact that Jiffy pellets could avoid all these problems was very interesting to him.
The introduction to Jiffy
Ruben got informed about Jiffy through a distributor in Colombia. He started to find out more about our work with Coffee and the developments currently undergoing with Cenicafe (Research institute for Coffee) and the National Coffee Federation. He was interested on a commercial trial with the idea to implement Jiffy Pellets for Coffee at his own farm.
Trials and measurable results
Everything started with a trial that took place in December 2018, from there all the planning to develop the infrastructure and necessary support was established. We worked closely with him in every step of the process and today his plants are already in the field showing vigorous growth. We implemented with him the protocol developed by Cenicafe with technical support from Jiffy. He was specially surprised with the (time)savings he had during planting and internal transportation within his farm. This was a saving close to 22% in production costs compared to traditional polybag with soil. He was also surprised for the development of the plants during the first months at the field.
The new normal
Currently he is a very satisfied customer and even though coffee plants only start producing yields after 1.5 years at the ground, he is happy with the vegetative development the plants are showing so far. He also has gone with us to visit the Cenicafe trials, where 4-year-old plants are already showing excellent yields comparable to smaller Jiffy pellet sizes and regular polybags with soil plants.
Coffee for the future
Ruben states that he will keep working with Jiffy for his next season, and he is also selling plants by contract to some other growers who are very impressed with the innovative technology that guarantees sustainable, healthy and beautiful plants. Not only because of the savings and environmental impact, but especially because the healthy roots guaranteed by Jiffy Pellets. This way, Ruben is ready for the future.