Taking too long? Close loading screen.

 

 

 

 

1 July, 2021      4 Minute Read


Transparent Teamwork with Local Cooperatives

Badi Bradley

North America Sales Director

 

TAGS

Cooperatives serve a great purpose in rural Latin America. Historically, small-scale coffee growers had a hard time accessing markets by themselves because they were located remotely, so they decided to get together with neighbors and join efforts to access better opportunities. Consolidating the resources and purchasing power of small-scale producers can provide access to technical training, reduce input costs and most importantly, access to market.  A well-run cooperative has the best interests of its members at the heart of every decision.  Some of Caravela’s longest relationships are agreements with cooperatives, relationships that are strong and will remain so, long into the future.

For example, the Occicafe cooperative in La Plata, Huila, Colombia.  For over a decade, Caravela has had a purchasing station set up inside the coop’s facilities.  If a member of the cooperative is delivering coffee and believes that a lot is specialty grade, it is passed on to Caravela. The Quality Analyst will go through the physical grading process and if the sample passes, it will be roasted and cupped.  We will deliver the results to the producer via text message and pay a quality premium based on the quality grade of the lot within a few days.  The difference is that we pay that premium to the cooperative and the distribution to the producer is handled internally. However, there is always perfect transparency to the grower, mainly throughout the text message that they receive.  If the lot does not meet our purchasing criteria, the parchment simply passes over to the cooperative, which buys it at the market price for that day.  It is a very efficient process and it’s a win-win-win.

This arrangement works because there is mutual trust.  The trust exists because both parties are working in the best interests of the producer, the building block of specialty coffee.  The cooperative and the members see value in their relationship with Caravela through the access to market, the quality premiums paid, and the agronomic and educational assistance of the PECA technicians. This is the relationship that we have with many other cooperatives around Colombia and Latin America.

When we begin a dialogue with a cooperative about a potential business relationship, the very first thing we ask for is a membership list.  The fundamental principles of Caravela are transparency and traceability and without those, engagement is a non-starter.  If leadership of a cooperative doesn’t want to provide a list of members because they are afraid that someone will “steal their farmers”, then that is a red flag.

Caravela PECA technicians visit producers to work with them and improve the quality of their coffee.  In a group setting, they will program ECAs (Farmer Field Schools) to teach groups of coffee growers at once, where they all share their experiences and do follow up work.  The PECA team leverages the work that we are doing in multiple origins to teach current best practices, with no cost to the producers or to the cooperative.  Sometimes, when we see resistance from the coop to offer assistance from our PECA team, this might also be a red flag.  

Organic certificates are often owned at the cooperative level.  Because of the sheer number of small farmers, these certificates are issued based on formulas and random samples.  Yes, the coffee is organically certified, but the small producer is beholden to the cooperative that holds the cert which limits their mobility to maximize their income.  The organic premium paid by the roaster is received by the coop. This is one of the reasons why traceability and transparency are so important to us.

As both an exporter and an importer, we have the obligation to establish relationships between producers and groups of producers with roasters throughout the world.  If everyone does their job well, then this can be a long-term relationship that reduces risks and maximizes gains for all parties.

Our priority is always to make coffee better for everyone involved. For this reason, before deciding whether to partner with a local cooperative or to open a purchasing station on our own, we first look at how coffee growers are being treated. The most important thing is that producers are being rewarded for their hard work. If a farmer is happy with their relationship with the cooperative and finds value, that is fantastic. First and foremost, there should be transparency. Additionally, it is important for coffee growers to be fully paid for the coffee that they delivered on time, money is crucial for the cash flow and viability of a small business.

 We treat each producer as a business partner, and we recognize each of them for their contribution, not hidden inside an anonymous community lot.  We reward the producer with a price relative to the quality of the product, and pay them promptly, so their small business has the cash flow required to reinvest into the venture.  We provide technical assistance based on current best practices to help the producer continue to improve.  We establish a commercial channel between the producer, the roaster, and even the end consumer, with the intent of creating a long-term supply agreement that will reduce the risk for all parties and encourage investment in infrastructure.

Our vision is often shared by leaders of cooperatives, and that creates the basis of a wonderful working relationship.  When it works, it works well.  When it doesn’t, we won’t let that stop us from investing in the coffee community to provide opportunity.  In the end, Caravela has two customers: the roaster and the producer. We will do everything we can to provide the most value to each one.

 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Was this interesting? Grab a coffee and pick another from the articles below

A Pivotal Moment for Specialty Coffee

A Pivotal Moment for Specialty Coffee

Long Distances, Long Histories: Getting Close to Coffee in Oaxaca

Long Distances, Long Histories: Getting Close to Coffee in Oaxaca

We are Best for the World 2021!

We are Best for the World 2021!

Transparent Teamwork with Local Cooperatives

Transparent Teamwork with Local Cooperatives

Planning Ahead: As bad as it sounds?

Planning Ahead: As bad as it sounds?

Growing and Thriving with Guatemalan Farmers

Growing and Thriving with Guatemalan Farmers

An Update on Colombia’s Ongoing Crisis

An Update on Colombia’s Ongoing Crisis

Mastering the Learning Loop in Peru

Mastering the Learning Loop in Peru

Supply Chain Hurricane: Weathering a perfect logistical storm in 2021

Supply Chain Hurricane: Weathering a perfect logistical storm in 2021

Making the Coffee World More Sustainable

Making the Coffee World More Sustainable

A Familiar Face Returns: William Ortiz at the helm of Colombia/Ecuador

A Familiar Face Returns: William Ortiz at the helm of Colombia/Ecuador

Cause and Effectiveness: Increasing Impact with the Sustainable Development Initiative

Cause and Effectiveness: Increasing Impact with the Sustainable Development Initiative

Shifting Calendars, Shifting Harvests

Shifting Calendars, Shifting Harvests

Third-Party Verification that Leads to Action

Third-Party Verification that Leads to Action

‘Milds’ Intrigue: The Price Quandry Facing Farmers

‘Milds’ Intrigue: The Price Quandry Facing Farmers

Guiding Farms in the Right Direction

Guiding Farms in the Right Direction

Our Best Coffee is Our People

Our Best Coffee is Our People

What’s Brewing in the Coffee Industry: Lessons Learned and What to Look Forward in 2021

What’s Brewing in the Coffee Industry: Lessons Learned and What to Look Forward in 2021

Why Add Yeast ?

Why Add Yeast ?

Polar Promise in Las Palmas: A Case Study of North Star’s El Salvador Origin Project

Polar Promise in Las Palmas: A Case Study of North Star’s El Salvador Origin Project

Peru 2020: Rising Up From Lockdown

Peru 2020: Rising Up From Lockdown

Traditional Varieties in Latin America

Traditional Varieties in Latin America

Ecuador 2020: Making Our Way in the Middle

Ecuador 2020: Making Our Way in the Middle

Climate Neutral Caravela 2025: Steady Steps Towards a More Sustainable Future

Climate Neutral Caravela 2025: Steady Steps Towards a More Sustainable Future

A Primer on Transparency + Traceability Part II

A Primer on Transparency + Traceability Part II

A Primer on Transparency + Traceability Part I

A Primer on Transparency + Traceability Part I

How to Create a Specialty Coffee Line to Attract Commercial Coffee Drinkers Into The Specialty Coffee World? Part II

How to Create a Specialty Coffee Line to Attract Commercial Coffee Drinkers Into The Specialty Coffee World? Part II

How to Create a Specialty Coffee Line to Attract Commercial Coffee Drinkers Into The Specialty Coffee World?

How to Create a Specialty Coffee Line to Attract Commercial Coffee Drinkers Into The Specialty Coffee World?

A Take on Long-standing Relationships: Hasbean and Pedro Claros

A Take on Long-standing Relationships: Hasbean and Pedro Claros

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How  Part Three: Futures 103 How Hedging Works

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part Three: Futures 103 How Hedging Works

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part Two: Futures 102

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part Two: Futures 102

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part One: Futures 101

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part One: Futures 101

Grade Expectations: Finding Versatility and Value in A and AA Coffees

Grade Expectations: Finding Versatility and Value in A and AA Coffees

A Presentation on Cost of Production In Latin America

A Presentation on Cost of Production In Latin America

Meso-American Producer Survey: The Pandemic Will Leave Long-Lasting Scars

Meso-American Producer Survey: The Pandemic Will Leave Long-Lasting Scars

Invisible Barriers for Moving Coffee

Invisible Barriers for Moving Coffee

Caravela at 20: The Journey is Only Getting Started

Caravela at 20: The Journey is Only Getting Started

Certifiably Awesome: Passion and Persistence Turn Promise into Parchment in Mexico

Certifiably Awesome: Passion and Persistence Turn Promise into Parchment in Mexico

Harvest Arrives, Along with a Pandemic

Harvest Arrives, Along with a Pandemic

Minga From Field To Filter: Coffee Reacts and Adapts to the Covid Era

Minga From Field To Filter: Coffee Reacts and Adapts to the Covid Era

Mother Nature Turns The Volume Down in Nicaragua

Mother Nature Turns The Volume Down in Nicaragua

LOTSA Potential: The Long-Term Supply Agreement as a Tool for Financial Stability and Building Relationships

LOTSA Potential: The Long-Term Supply Agreement as a Tool for Financial Stability and Building Relationships

Progress in a Picture-Perfect Coffee Setting

Progress in a Picture-Perfect Coffee Setting

The Price and Value of Consistency

The Price and Value of Consistency

Looking Back and Leaping Forward

Looking Back and Leaping Forward

Womxn-Powered Coffee: Why It Matters

Womxn-Powered Coffee: Why It Matters

Behind the Scenes in Peruvian Coffee

Behind the Scenes in Peruvian Coffee

Unpoppable Opportunities for the Future

Unpoppable Opportunities for the Future

Equipping the Equipo: Playing to win in Guatemala and El Salvador

Equipping the Equipo: Playing to win in Guatemala and El Salvador

Agronomy to Keep the Microlots Coming

Agronomy to Keep the Microlots Coming

Evolution in a Land of Revolution

Evolution in a Land of Revolution

Cupping as Meditation

Cupping as Meditation

Origin Revelations

Origin Revelations

Avoiding the Poverty Trap: Choosing Stories Instead of Emotional Marketing

Avoiding the Poverty Trap: Choosing Stories Instead of Emotional Marketing

I’ve Bean Everywhere, Man

I’ve Bean Everywhere, Man

Have Yourself a Mara Little Christmas

Have Yourself a Mara Little Christmas

All Roads Lead to Coffee

All Roads Lead to Coffee

How Coffee can Complement Food

How Coffee can Complement Food

Building Projects at Origin

Building Projects at Origin

Shining a Light on Defect Detection: How a $9 UV torch could be one of the best investments for the coffee value chain

Shining a Light on Defect Detection: How a $9 UV torch could be one of the best investments for the coffee value chain

Coffee: Culture or Business?

Coffee: Culture or Business?

Café: ¿Cultura o Negocio?

Café: ¿Cultura o Negocio?

A Study on Costs of Production in Latin America

A Study on Costs of Production in Latin America

Fermentation Experiments in Nicaragua – How We Managed to Go from RTB to AAA

Fermentation Experiments in Nicaragua – How We Managed to Go from RTB to AAA

Constantly Adapting to Change

Constantly Adapting to Change

Mind the Gap: A Growing Gray Area Between Market and Production

Mind the Gap: A Growing Gray Area Between Market and Production

Embracing Technology to Create New Pathways in Coffee

Embracing Technology to Create New Pathways in Coffee

Forward Contracting to Secure Quality, Quantity and Relationships

Forward Contracting to Secure Quality, Quantity and Relationships

Caravela Sponsors Seven Small-holder Coffee Producers to attend the Producer and Roaster Forum in Guatemala

Caravela Sponsors Seven Small-holder Coffee Producers to attend the Producer and Roaster Forum in Guatemala

Colombian Specialty Coffee Scene. A Perspective from Café Quindío

Colombian Specialty Coffee Scene. A Perspective from Café Quindío

Coffee Sampling  Increases Farmers Profitability Opportunities

Coffee Sampling Increases Farmers Profitability Opportunities

Caravela From a Newcomer’s View

Caravela From a Newcomer’s View

Water Activity: Predictive insights Changing Processes and Profits

Water Activity: Predictive insights Changing Processes and Profits

Blending Experience with Passion in Mesoamerica

Blending Experience with Passion in Mesoamerica

Coffee in Galapagos: Evolving To Thrive

Coffee in Galapagos: Evolving To Thrive

What Traceability Offers Farmers

What Traceability Offers Farmers

The Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide – Setting the Bar on Prices

The Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide – Setting the Bar on Prices

A Tale of Two Customers: Caravela Coffee and the Rethinking of the Coffee Import Model

A Tale of Two Customers: Caravela Coffee and the Rethinking of the Coffee Import Model

Arriving at a price

Arriving at a price

Rich Farmer, Poor Farmer

Rich Farmer, Poor Farmer

Low Prices, Risky Times

Low Prices, Risky Times

Making it Work as Well as it Can

Making it Work as Well as it Can

Discovering the Source

Discovering the Source

A Mutual Evolution: Caravela Nicaragua’s William Ortiz, on helping people grow coffee, and how coffee helps people grow

A Mutual Evolution: Caravela Nicaragua’s William Ortiz, on helping people grow coffee, and how coffee helps people grow

The High Price of Getting the Best from Ecuador

The High Price of Getting the Best from Ecuador

Victims of Exchanging Currencies – Who Should Take on this Risk?

Victims of Exchanging Currencies – Who Should Take on this Risk?

A Pilgrimage to the Future

A Pilgrimage to the Future

Why We’re Investing in World Coffee Research?

Why We’re Investing in World Coffee Research?

The Making of a Champion

The Making of a Champion

Peru, an Unpolished Diamond in Coffee Production

Peru, an Unpolished Diamond in Coffee Production

Investing in Education: Investing in People

Investing in Education: Investing in People

How Roasters Can Influence the Supply Chain

How Roasters Can Influence the Supply Chain

Aromas: More than Just a Coffee Competition

Aromas: More than Just a Coffee Competition

FOB vs. EXW – Two Buying/Shipping Methods for Your Green Coffee

FOB vs. EXW – Two Buying/Shipping Methods for Your Green Coffee

Sample Roasting vs. Profile Roasting

Sample Roasting vs. Profile Roasting

How to Keep Records of your Costs of Production?

How to Keep Records of your Costs of Production?

Why and How to Estimate Costs of Production in a Coffee Farm?

Why and How to Estimate Costs of Production in a Coffee Farm?

Supply Chain Logistics – The Clockwork of Coffee

Supply Chain Logistics – The Clockwork of Coffee

Forecasting Green Coffee Purchasing

Forecasting Green Coffee Purchasing

What is specialty Coffee

What is specialty Coffee

Drying in Peru: the Final Step in Quality Improvement

Drying in Peru: the Final Step in Quality Improvement

FOB vs: EXW – Two Buying/Shipping Methods for Your Green Coffee

FOB vs: EXW – Two Buying/Shipping Methods for Your Green Coffee

When is it time to harvest?

When is it time to harvest?

Just In Time Inventory

Just In Time Inventory

Spectrum Purchasing and How it Impacts Sustainability

Spectrum Purchasing and How it Impacts Sustainability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Translate »

Pin It on Pinterest

Share

Share this content with your coffee community!