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    Our 2020 Project!

    Our 2020 Project!

    This year we have all faced some pretty serious challenges and none more-so than COVID-19. Every country has been impacted and its effects have and will continue to be felt for years to come.  So while we feel the challenges at home, what impact does the pandemic have in other countries?

    According to Beanscene article, “The risk posed by COVID-19 on Africa’s agricultural sector remains critical, given the sector accounts for 23%of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product, with food and agricultural exports averaging US$35 billion to US$40 billion annually.”(Building a post-COVID -19 resilience for Africa’s coffee sector, Beanscene Magazine 2020)

    Each year, Africa’s agricultural products (including coffee) are worth US $8 billion and it is believed the pandemic will not only impact the country’s earning capacity between US$100 million -$200 million, but also will have a direct impact on close to 7 million people’s jobs in the coffee sector.

    Going hand-in-hand with a pandemic, the other massive issue facing farmers is global warming and the unpredictable seasons which (specifically in Rwanda), caused massive flooding which saw crops we had invested in last year for the female farming co-operative of Cocagi totally destroyed.

    So to ensure the project we started with Cocagi, reaches its full potential, we are continuing to funding this community again this year. We will be purchasing them an additional 2 hectares of land, 8500 coffee seedlings, fertilizers for the full 6 hectares of land, other plants (sunflowers and bananas to replace the destroyed crops) and additional training.

    The group is supported by Rainforest Alliance and as part of that, they have learned the value in crop diversification which is why we have invested in the additional banana and sunflower crops. This will allow the women to sell product to the local markets and the training will teach them how to produce sunflower oil again for the domestic market. Not only does it take 3 years for coffee crops to establish itself, but it means that they are able to make money from the land immediately and diversify their risk should a crop be destroyed by weather again.

    We are committed to seeing this project reach its full potential for the group and the addition of more land again will assist them in growing their capacity to sell to international markets and earn more income for their community.

    Again, we are grateful to all our customers, returning and new ones, who support us. Because this project is all funded by YOU through your purchase. We have big ideas to do more and as we grow as a brand, we are excited by the prospect of being able to support more coffee growing communities around the world.

    Make sure you follow the progress by following us on Instagram and Facebook. Thank you to Rainforest Alliance for again supporting us with this project.

    The impact global coffee prices are having on farmers.

    The impact global coffee prices are having on farmers.

    In 2018 the price of coffee dropped to a 12 year low of USD $1.00/lb. By the end of the year coffee prices were, for the most part, below the cost of production. This begs the question; how can coffee farmers be expected to produce high-quality coffee when they can’t afford basic necessities, such as feeding their families?

    Low coffee prices are affecting the amount of work that coffee farmers are getting. Producers cannot afford to pay people to farm the beans and so, both the producer and farmer lose out.

    It is important to note that the effects of low coffee prices do not end at the producer or farmer, they also affect the consumer. When coffee prices are down, producers cannot afford to hire enough farmers to pick coffee beans. Therefore, due to time constraints, instead of conducting a selective harvest and picking only the best beans, farmers strip the plants of all their beans, good and bad. This means that the coffee that is produced and sold is variable and poor quality which ultimately leads to the consumer drinking a poorer quality coffee.

    Unfortunately, this is not where the negativity ends as it will likely cycle back around and add to the producers and farmers woes. Consumers may decide not to buy this brand of coffee again, aligning it with poor-quality, which adversely affects the producer and farmers, as there is less demand for their product.

    Sustainable Harvest’s Relationship Coffee Model helps to ensures transparency, collaboration and shared success between farmer and retailer. It suggests that all components of the model work together and people think about everyone else in the chain as a whole, from grower, miller, exporter, importer, roaster and retailer. This means that everyone is working together in the best interests of everyone in the chain and is a step for farmers at combating low coffee prices.

    Another important step for producers and farmers to mitigate low prices is to form a supportive and committed long-term relationship with a roaster. If a producer has a great relationship with their roaster and both parties are committed to each other’s success, both parties are more likely to get the most out of the coffee. Roasters are more likely to try and help their producer and push for higher prices.

    It is important for you as the consumers to understand the effects that low costs have on farmers and to think twice about how much you are willing to spend on your cup of coffee.

     

    References:

    Olson, K 2018, ‘C-Market Stories: Fatima Ismael, Soppexcca, Nicaragua’, Barista Magazine Online, December 7th, https://www.baristamagazine.com/c-market-stories-fatima-ismael-soppexcca-nicaragua/

    Olson, K 2018, ‘C-Market Stories: Felix Camposeco, Acodihue, Guatemala’, Barista Magazine Online, December 13th, https://www.baristamagazine.com/c-market-stories-felix-camposeco-acodihue-guatemala/

    Brody, L 2019, ‘What low prices mean to our producer partners’, Sustainable Harvest, January 3rd , https://www.sustainableharvest.com/blog/what-low-prices-mean-to-our-producer-partners