While the Guatemala coffees are arriving weekly here in Oakland, the harvest is all finished on the small farms that work with us in Proyecto Xinabajul. Coffee buyers usually visit in the harvest, to see production, learn and taste. But I just returned last week from Guatemala last week to meet with the producers, find out how they feel about the project, and explore some new areas.
I found the farmers to be excited about the prices we paid, that included a premium for quality. They also liked the promptness of payment and the stable price we kept, even as the market was falling and the multi-nationals and "coyotes" were rapidly dropping the price they paid. I found many new farmers wanting to try out our direct purchase system in the next harvest, many being relatives of current farmers and friends. When the multi-nationals and roadside buyers are the only choice, the farmer loses. I feel a new option benefits all the farmers in the area, directly or indirectly.
I found farmers taking steps to prune their shade trees to help fight the encroachment of Roya, the rust fungus that slowly kills the coffee shrub. I also found farmers re-planting with new trees, but using older varietals like Bourbon and San Ramon. Here the Bourbon seeds are placed in a sand bed for germination.- Tom
Sent from Tom's phone
(please forgive misspellings)