Ah, that morning coffee — so delicious for many of us. The products of the “coffee belt,” encircling the globe just north and south of the Equator, are made from a valuable commodity — the coffee bean. Harvesting those is a US$100 billion annual commodity, writer Jodyn Cormier tells us on the Care2 web platform, second only to the value of the oil market. And yet…she writes that the average coffee farmer gets $1,000 per season for his/her work.
That, Cormier concludes, makes coffee an industry that is inherently unbalanced and unfair. And then the writer focuses on Vega Coffee (Nicaragua), a “subscription-based” coffee company that helps farmers pick, process, package, and ship quality beans direct to customers. The customer gets the coffee within 5 days of roasting, “direct from farmers’ hands to theirs.”
The company’s founder explains how this differs from many parts of the traditional value chain in reaching developed nation coffee consumers: The family farmer typically sells beans to a cooperative, which sells to another or larger cooperative, and then it’s to an exporter, then to a roaster (the importer), then to a coffee distributor, and on to a roaster wanting Nicaraguan coffee…and then through middlemen to retail outlets…to customer.
The Vega firm has a roastery in Nicaragua, and local farmers are involved in the roasting process, packaging the goods for export to the USA (every two weeks). Farmer-to-roastery-to shipment to US customer. And women are encouraged to get involved in the usually male-dominated cultivation activities.
And what about climate change? The views from the coffee belt in Nicaragua are shared in the top story (below) as well as many other fascinating views. Conclusion: Vega believes people (read: we coffee consumers) should not have to trade quality for sustainability. And they are showing how it can be done.
Author Jordyn Cormier is a Boston-based freelance writer and “avid outdoors woman.” The Care2 web platform is known for its “member petitions” resources, such as saving the rainforest and protesting President Trump’s offshore oil drilling agenda. Should You Have to Choose Between Good Coffee and Sustainability? (Monday – April 17, 2017) Source: Care 2 – Coffee as a commodity is worth $100 billion worldwide—second only to oil. And yet, the average coffee farmer makes a paltry $1000 per season (which is about $3/day), and that’s without taking into consideration drought or disease…