What is sustainable coffee production? In America it's a word used more and more that we hear the talking heads pontificate about on TV. But what does it really mean for us? In reality, it means a consistent flow of quality coffee that is the mainstay of our morning routine. Now I'm not talking about the morning swill that prevalent in most gas stations and quick stops. Or if you have ever served in Uncle Sam"s military you're quite familiar with coffee that can float nails and any other form of metal.
The quality coffee that we now appreciate comes from empowering farmers in the care of their coffee trees. All with the implementation of modern farming and horticulture practices, to the importance of picking only red cherries, or implementing basic social benefits that help the workers in the long-run. For the most part this comes from sustainable practices taught by experts employed by the major coffee brokers to improve the lives of coffee farmers. In turn, this helps them earn a better living and get higher prices for their product.
One if these brokers is Volcafe and their program, Volcafe Way, helps farmers become profitable. Through their advocacy, the farmers become successful business owners first, thus causing their farms to become sustainable and resourceful.
In Uganda, a country in Central Africa, the Rwenzori region has a long coffee tradition. The Bakonzo farmers manually process their cherries and their farms average two acres in size. Coffee is a source of income that allows small growers to support their families and improve their homes. While farmers traditionally sell parchment and kibokos (dried cherries), more and more choose to sell their freshly-picked red cherries to washing-stations. This enables farmers to access quick payment for coffee, and takes away the risk of drying coffee, many of whom are not well equipped for this process.
The transport of cherries from the mountain slopes to the washing stations remains a challenge for many farmers. To overcome it, Agri Evolve created 20 Buying Stations, where farmers can deliver and sell their cherries. Each Buying Station is a business run by a farmer, from which Agri Evolve buys the ripe cherries. Instead of owning the whole supply chain, they have put in place an economic structure that fosters self-empowerment and sane competition.
Many coffee farmers live high up on the slopes of the Rwenzori mountain range, which culminates at more than 15,000 feet above sea level. The higher the coffee grows, the more slowly it matures and the more complex the cup profiles become.
To access the farms situated up the mountains off the beaten tracks, Agri Evolve has invested in donkeys which collect the ripe cherries of the farms located in remote areas. The cherries are kept separate and assembled in “Donkey Lots”, which celebrate the uniqueness and exclusivity of the coffee cherries.
In summary, most quality coffees that come your way, that are either (A) organic (2) from sustainable farms or (3) In hard to access areas. All your quality coffees come from some type of area that has altitude or good volcanic soil and slow growing conditions that produce good coffee cherries. So in order for us to get our quality morning fix it’s an arduous journey for that little bean to get to your roaster ....that’s assisted greatly by our supplier Genuine Origin and Volcafe Way.