Supporting farm labour

The following is an excerpt from our report Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017


In 2017, CCS and our sister company Kaffa celebrated twelve years of working with San Vicente and the farmers of Santa Barbara, Honduras. This relationship has been fruitful, yields have never been higher, quality has never been better.

This is a great achievement, and we take great pride in the dedication of these farmers, and our small contribution as long-term buyers. But a relationship like this holds an even greater power.

 A coffee picker in Santa Barbara who stands to benefit from the new payment structure. This and the banner photo both taken on a Hasselblad by Tuuka Koski.

A coffee picker in Santa Barbara who stands to benefit from the new payment structure. This and the banner photo both taken on a Hasselblad by Tuuka Koski.

After twelve years of working together, we can speak differently in Santa Barbara. We can be more direct, we can trust that our partners are looking out for us and our partners can do the same. With our friends in Santa Barbara we have been able to discuss delicate issues like poverty and the livelihoods of coffee pickers and farm workers.

There is a fine line between a suggestion and a requirement. It is one thing to expose ignorance, it is entirely another to disrespect cultural differences and inter-relational dynamics in the communities that we only visit for a few days each year. We have to acknowledge that we don’t live our farming partners’ lives.

Still, our vision is to bring quality, prosperity and community to everyone in coffee, and that includes farm employees, many of whom are friends and neighbors of the farmers.

From a frank conversation with our friends in Santa Barbara, a new initiative was born. In 2017 we increased the FOB price to $4.25/4.50 per pound as the base price for an 86-points lot, and farm gate prices increased proportionally. We asked the farmers to use that premium to pay their farm-workers and pickers more.

It is not a condition, rather a request. This increase of $0.50/lb. from last season is intended to give farmers the financial means to distribute some of their profits to their workers. When we visit Honduras again in 2018 we will report to you the progress of this initiative.