Allow me to introduce you to Mauro Pérez Bustamante and Grimaldina Guevara Calderón. They are coffee farmers in Peru, and members of the Fair Trade coffee cooperative CENFROCAFE. Their farm is located near Jaen in the high jungle of northern Peru.
“I have been working in agriculture ever since I was able to help in the field. I was born in La Virginia – a land higher than this one. I lost my parents when I was really young and my grandparents brought me here to live with them. They taught me all about coffee farming," says Mauro.
"At the beginning we were doing really bad agriculture: littering, burning the hills, deforesting, and not taking care of water sources. After we became part of CENFROCAFE, and they have helped us a lot, they gave us tools to improve our techniques and growing process. Now we protect our land and environment. We grow bamboo to protect our water sources and we don't use pesticides.” says Mauro.
People often think of Fair Trade simply as ensuring the farmers get a certain amount for their coffee - but it is so much more.
As a coffee roaster, we pay a premium on each pound sold in addition to what goes to the farmer. These funds are redistributed through Fair Trade USA to help with education in sustainability and community resources such as equipment, medical care, or youth education.
You can find out more by reading this article “Why Fair Trade”
“This is our peeling machine. It can work with or without electricity," says Grimaldina.
“With the rest of the peel from the coffee cherries we are able to produce worm humus so we can produce organic fertilizer for our crops."
"Our vegetables are really delicious since we began using the fertilizer and sometimes we can sell them to our neighbors.”
Here Mauro is smelling the coffee in their solar drying tent.
In 2019 during a particularly wet harvesting season for Peru, through our coffee broker Royal NY we were able to donate solar drying tents to this cooperative.
“This room is one of a kind. It has solar technology that maintains the warm humidity and keeps the temperature constant,” says Mauro.
"Now we produce enough coffee to have a better quality of life. Thanks to the cooperative and Fair Trade USA, we are researching better techniques and protecting our environment."
We encourage you to look for and purchase products with the Fair Trade label wherever you can.
Photo credits to Fair Trade USA
La Palma de las Naranjas, Asociación Hermosos Laureles, Jaén, Cajamarca, Peru. July 17th, 2019.