Today we got a chance to speak with individual farmers. Two hundred of the coffee farmers that are members of COCAFCAL practice 'micro-lot production'. This means that a buyer is interested in coffee produced by one single coffee farmer so there is no modification of taste through blending.
More work, but for a higher price
For the farmer, the challenge is to do all production steps (harvesting, washing, de-pulping and drying) on his own premises. This is more labour-intensive, but it is also attractive for the farmer because buyers are willing to pay a premium of up to 30% over the normal price for this type of specialty coffee.
For several years in a row now José Isidro Larahas has won the third price of a coffee quality award. The quality is measured on a scale from 1 to 100. He is always trying to further improve the quality of his product and has gained 2 extra points by increasing the 'sun-drying' period.
Time investments are paying off
This procedure, consisting of drying the coffee beans in the sun, instead of in an oven, requires a lot more manual labour because the coffee needs to be frequently moved. As a result of his efforts José can no longer meet demand and has decided to expand his business.
Confidence in quality
Disabled since his childhood through warfare, José Francisco Villeda (Panchito) manages to maintain his coffee field alone throughout the year. The quality of his coffee is so good that his buyer has issued a standing order for everything Panchito can supply.
COCAFCAL encourages its members to apply new technologies. Bernardo Santos proudly showed us his biogas equipment, which runs on mucilage (liquid) of the coffee beans and other bio-waste. If properly filled with bio-waste the constant gas production is sufficient to supply a gas stove with gas for cooking.
Proud and happy cooperative members
These farmers are more than just cooperative members. They are three proud, happy people.