In 2018, Agathe and Xavier, recent graduates of Istom (an engineering school specializing in international agro-development) have a shared desire: to embark on a project to grow and process perfume plants.
To this end, they decided to set up in Colombia to support local rural development.
How do they work ?
Based in Valparaiso, 4 hours from Medellin, Agathe and Xavier, through their company Aceites del Alba, are developing unique relationships with local farmers. They commit to buying their produce and offer them technical support, from managing and monitoring harvests to improving planting techniques. This enables Aceteis del Alba to maintain stable, long-term links with its partner growers.
Once the seeds have been collected and dried, Aceites del alba carries out the entire distillation process according to precise specifications. The company uses state-of-the-art equipment and food-grade stainless steel stills to ensure the continuity of the quality of the essential oils produced.
Cardamom is an herbaceous plant with rhizomes. It can be grown at altitudes of 600 to 1,200 m, and generally prefers temperate climates.
In Colombia, it is planted once in July. As cardamom is a perennial plant, new plantings are not necessarily made every year. Reproduction takes place from a stem and rhizome that are detached from a mother plant. These “cuttings” are then replanted directly in the field.
Harvesting on a plantation takes place every 6 to 8 weeks throughout the year, but the best period is October.
Each farmer has a schedule that enables him to have cardamom all year round. Agathe and Xavier go to the farm or to collection points every Saturday to collect the raw material.
Today, 4 years after the start of their project, Agathe and Xavier continue to grow with the creation of a fixed distillation plant, close to the farmers of the Antioquia department in Colombia.