Previous Post: The RIGHT coffee changes everything
25% of the crowdfunding from Mamé Noka Coffee Roaster will go to the BOYO project.
The moto is “Trade not Aid” and “Collaborative Trade”, thus it’s not a gift. There is a real return of investment [ROI] for Mamé Noka in the form of green beans without squeezing the farmers. This is a kind of a micro-credit between gentlemen.
Producers are the heart of what makes great coffee. Their skills, expertise and craftsmanship is the difference between mediocre coffee and coffee that is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. We rely on the producers for that pristine bean. The producers grow the coffee trees. They pick the cherry when it is perfectly ripe. They remove the outer fruit, leaving just the bean covered in a thin parchment. They rest the beans, let the beans develop into their full selves.
The overall objective of direct trade is to eliminate the power imbalances that exist in traditional supply chains. Farmers getting a lower price than they deserve. To counter this, direct trade is an approach taken to build mutually beneficial and respectful relationships between businesses and producers, by fairly distributing benefits and involving producers in decision making processes.
- Some farmers only manage to produce 250kg per hectare, when the yield could reach 2000kg. Low productivity puts the survival of the coffee production at risk
- Both pre-harvest and post-harvest practices fail to improve the quality of the coffee plants.
- No central processing unit for the coffee beans, leading to inconsistent quality. Each farmer processes the coffee on their own farm (farm-washed coffee) which produces a coffee supply of varying quality.
Worldwide, one of the clearest self-identified issues facing producers of coffee is the low and unpredictable price they can sell raw coffee for. A lack of control as to what the market price will be once the harvest is complete is disempowering. The common market price falls below the cost of production at times.
Source: Prices to Growers – Annual Averages (http://www.ico.org/new_historical.asp)
One growing possible solution to low and tumultuous prices is the specialty coffee market, where roasters are happy to pay fixed prices for high-quality coffee with specific flavour characteristics, season on season, regardless of what the commodity market price swings to. In this scenario farmers can have some control over the price they are paid, as the price rises with the quality produced.
- We want to improve productivity by planting new coffee trees. The most suitable coffee varieties are grown in tree nurseries and distributed to the farmers.
- We introduce Good Agricultural Practices that aim to reduce the negative effects on the environment (soil, water, pesticides, etc.).
- For fertilization, local compost based on coffee pulp and other ingredients is used
- We set up a coffee lab to transfer knowledge about increasing production from farmer to farmer.
- Building a micro washing station
The project will pilot the use of micro-washing stations which enable farmers to process coffee closer to where it is grown, as well as receive better market prices than selling the raw fruit.
The micro washing station
The micro washing station will be used by the producers to wash the ripened coffee cherries and remove the outer layers so that the beans inside can be dried on drying tables in the sun. This process is no different from that used for decades by the coffee growers to produce parchment coffee beans, except that the micro washing stations will do the job better and work much faster – and consequently produce a significant improvement in coffee quality. Sorting, pulping, fermentation, washing, and drying are key steps in maintaining or developing flavours in coffee. There are many aspects to be controlled or manipulated throughout this processing that is very difficult to achieve without financial investment, time, and knowledge.
The old ways were so poor that even the highest quality cherries could be reduced to the lowest grade coffee beans. But until now there has been no alternative to the old ways.
There is also a real possibility that the improvement in quality will elevate Boyo to become some of the best quality coffee in the world. This will of course take time and involve more than the installation of washing stations. The growers will also have to improve their cultivation techniques and we will need to speed up the buying and processing cycle. But at least they have an inherently high quality product.
The direct trade model results in more money for the farmers, and better quality coffee for the consumers. Helping individual farmers improve their sustainable farming practices wouldn’t be possible through the alternative, fair trade model, which doesn’t allow for individual transactions, and often results in lesser-quality coffee.
While the direct trade model may not be the easiest way to source coffee
I believe it’s the most ethical.
It’s not the easy way.
It’s not the fast way.
IT’S THE RIGHT WAY!
And on top,
it creates the best coffee possible.
The total cost of building and equipping a washing station is about 10 000 euro. The repayment periods will depend on the coffee market: higher prices mean faster repayment. Over time, this revolving loan fund will help establish new micro washing station groups.
Regardless of international coffee prices, completion of this project will enable smallholder farmers in Cameroon to obtain far better prices than they receive today.
We want to improve productivity by planting new coffee trees. The most suitable coffee varieties are grown in tree nurseries and distributed to the farmers.
The micro washing station will be used by the producers to wash the ripened coffee cherries and remove the outer layers so that the beans inside can be dried on drying tables in the sun.