Our Education Program
PECA (the Spanish acronym for "Programa de Educación a Caficultores") is our origin-based program that educates farmers on how to consistently produce high quality coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When and why was PECA started?
PECA started in mid 2011 as we felt the need to educate the producers we work with to better cope with the challenges of coffee leaf rust (roya), increasing production costs and a strong demand for outstanding coffees.
- What are the Program’s focus areas?
The program currently addresses four main areas:
1. Productivity and efficiency: teaching growers how to increase their farm’s productivity and efficiency, by reducing costs of production and increasing yields. This area includes the following subjects:
a. Fertilisation based on soil analysis
b. Phyto-sanitary management
c. Soil management
2. Cup Quality: focuses on improving cup quality and consistency by implementing best practices at the harvest and post-harvesting levels
b. Best processing practices
3. Environmental Sustainability: encouraging coffee growers to adopt more sustainable practices on their farms, such as planting shade trees, protecting and avoiding contamination of water sources, reducing the use of agro-chemicals and applying occupational health safety.
4. Farm management: encouraging growers to develop better management practices on their farms, such as keeping records and planning.
The PECA team in Colombia is also responsible for managing Finca Belgravia, the home of the Caravela Coffee Innovation Centre (CCIC) located in Popayan, Cauca. CCIC is a place where we explore the boundaries of high quality coffee production, discover new processing methods and develop tools to make coffee production more sustainable. With 15 different coffee varieties planted, it is also a seed bank where coffee producers can source seeds to cultivate new and exotic varieties in their farms.
- How many people are involved in the program?
Currently there are 25 people involved in the day-to-day operation of the program:
- Colombia: 17
- El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras: 3
- Nicaragua: 5
PECA's staff includes agronomists, educators, farm managers and administrative personnel.
- How are educators selected?
All educators are either coffee producers or sons/daughters of producers with whom we work. They are selected after a rigorous and transparent selection process for their coffee knowledge, people skills and enthusiasm.
- How many farmers participate in the program?
Each educator is responsible for visiting between 10 and 30 farms every month. At the moment there are more than 500 producers being visited monthly.
- What is the Educator’s role?
Each one of the Educators has an Android Tablet where they document their monthly visits to the producers assigned to them. In those visits they check on the general state of the farms and provide any advice required. They are our eyes and ears on the day-to-day occurrences on the farms.
Educators are in constant contact with the agronomists for technical assistance and guidance. Educators and producers also attend regular workshops where they are trained on the topics covered by the program.
- How is PECA financed?
10 cents per pound sold is allocated to the Program.