Career-long coffee professional Lily Pacas was sworn in last week as the executive director of the Consejo Salvadoreño del Café (El Salvador Coffee Council, or CSC), which represents some 20,000 Salvadoran smallholder coffee farmers.
Representing the fifth generation of the Salvadoran family that is the namesake of the Pacas coffee variety, Pacas will assume the director role over a five year term. A Q grader and founder of the Salvadoran specialty coffee roasting and retail company Viva Espresso before becoming El Salvador’s first woman barista champion in 2008, Pacas replaces Hugo Hernández in the director role.
The CSC provides a range of services for Salvadoran coffee producers, while working to build market opportunities for Salvadoran coffees overall. In addition to compiling sector data for use among producers, the group has recently been engaged in activities such as farmer risk mitigation programming, technical assistance and programs designed to increase and promote domestic consumption of coffee.
Pacas’ appointment comes at a difficult time for coffee producers throughout the Americas, as coffee prices sit at historically low levels. While El Salvador has earned a reputation for producing some of the world’s finest high-grown arabica coffees — such as those that wowed international judges at this year’s El Salvador Cup of Excellence — the country’s coffee sector has struggled to rebound from the coffee leaf rust epidemic that struck beginning in 2012, according to the CSC’s own estimates.