When we engage with our coffee farmers in Latin America, we strongly emphasize the concept of treating their farm as a business; viewing their land, crops, skills, and organic certification as ASSETS. In the business world, leveraging your assets is paramount to healthy growth. This is the exact mindset that we're focused on sharing with our farming partners. Our organic chia project is a perfect example of this mindset in action.
Coffee farms are usually at the tops of mountains. Many of them have some areas that are not shade covered. Our farmers don't grow coffee in those sun-exposed areas, so they usually grow corn, beans, or other basic products in those areas to sell locally. In order to keep their organic certification, they don't spray or treat with non-organic materials.
When the royal began devastating coffee crops in 2013, we sought opportunities for additional income for our coffee farmers. Agronomists identified chia as an ideal crop to grow in these sun-exposed areas. Chia is a high-fiber source for protein and vitamins, so we naturally pursued this crop to offer our customers.
The chia harvest requires a little more time and effort than basic grains, but the return on assets (land, labor, inputs) is up to TEN TIMES higher than that of corn or beans. Our farmers can use this extra income to reinvest in their farm and community, which will contribute to their overall economic growth. This is great business for our farmers, responsible for the environment, and provides our customers with nutrient-rich organic products.
Poverty in rural Latin America is the byproduct of a system that is skewed to keep small farmers and communities impoverished while major traders make the lion's share of the profits. Our PURPOSE is to eliminate systemic poverty in rural Latin America through responsible trade of artisanal organic foods. This is one example of how we strive every day to achieve our purpose.