GNH Community

nonprofits,local leaders & Grt.New Haven business sharing information

A Supply Chain Overhaul To Boost Coffee Farmers' Income 400%

This is about a social enterprise on a mission to reinvent the coffee supply chain, giving farmers a bigger and more equitable piece of the action.

Aimed at growers producing specialty-grade, premium, Fair Trade certified coffee, Vega hopes to enable farmers to roast and package their beans  and connect to customers directly via an online subscription marketplace.  As a result, they can make a lot more money than they normally do.

The company, which is based in Leon, Nicaragua, is launching a Kickstartercampaign today.

Eighty percent of coffee farmers- -or  20 million people– are trapped in a cycle of subsistence farming, according to co-founder Noushin Ketabi.  Often in remote areas, they have little access to markets and tend to rely on middlemen for exporting.  (The situation is similar to peanut farmers in Haiti. I recentlywrote about a supply-chain social enterprise aimed at them).

And we’re not talking about just a few middlemen.  As many as 20 may be involved in the coffee supply chain, according to Vega. In many cases, the farmers grow the beans, then sort, grade and polish them , among other steps. Then they take the  stuff to a cooperative, which sends it to a larger entity that’s an aggregation of cooperatives. It goes next to an exporter, various certification groups, coffee traders, and labelers, among many others. It takes six months to get coffee from the farm to the consumer.

So, even though advocates of Fair Trade and organic coffee are trying their best, because they work within the usual supply chain, small-scale farmers end up with a paltry share of the pie, according to Ketabi. Each small scale farmer produces about 500 pounds of Fair Trade organic coffee  a year and gets around $1.30 a pound, or $700 a year.  The upshot: Farmers of specialty grade coffee beans earn $1 a pound for a product costing U .S. consumers maybe $20.

Vega’s aim is to cut out most of those other players. To that end, it would set up a processing, packaging  and distribution center located 20 to 30 minutes from farmers. There the coffee would be loaded in pallets, shipped overseas via a U.S. carrier, then  broken down and mailed to consumers.  Farmers would be paid when the processing is done, so it’s not contingent on supply and demand fluctuations. The  founders are still working out the details, but, ”We’ll match the Fair Trade price and pay for the value of the processing on top of that,” says Ketabi. The result would allow farmers to earn up to four times what they typically receive.

The plan also is to train the first group of farmers in how to do the roasting  using special equipment designed by Vega and engineers at a local NGO that uses 90% less fuel than the usual  roaster, according to Ketabi.  Then that first wave would train the next group.

The online site will allow consumers to drill down and get all sorts of information about the product, searching, for example, for a region or even specific farmers.  Customers can curate the coffee themselves, receiving two eight-ounce bags a month, or leave that to Vega, since two of its founders also are certified coffee roasters.

How did this all get started?  In 2005, co-founder Rob Terenzi (who is also married to Ketabi) spent two years in Nicaragua working with a women’s coffee cooperative to develop roasting capacity and build a national market for their coffee. Then he came back to the U.S. and studied law and international development at Fordham University.  There he met Ketabi, who was studying the same thing. He also started a group that took trips to Nicaragua to see the coffee world there.  Ketabi got involved  and, in 2011, won a Fulbright scholarship  to work in renewable energy policy  in Nicaragua, focusing on the lack of electricity and potential for solar energy.  After that she came back to the U .S., getting a job with the state of California in energy policy. In the meantime, Terenzi went to work for Wilson, Sonsini, the famed San Francisco law firm to startup tech stars, where he ended up gaining a lot of helpful insights into how to found a company.

All the while, the two pondered how to make an impact on coffee farming in a way that would have a  long-term  effect.  They decided, whatever the answer was, the best, most sustainable route was a for-profit, one that “could serve as a model for the whole coffee industry,” says Ketabi.  Finally, they pinpointed an overhaul of the supply chain as the key and, with their own savings and relying on their many contacts, moved to Nicaragua to start Vega early this year, also enlisting another co-founder, friend Will Deluca, to design and run the web site and technology side of the operation.

The effort is now in what Ketabi calls a “pre-pilot phase”, focused on Nicaragua, where the co-founders have deep ties; the pilot also will be in Nicaragua.  In its current ultra-early phase, the co-founders are working at 20 or so individual farms, where farmers sort the beans, then Vega packages them,  and sends out samples. The hope for the Kickstarter campaign is to raise $20,000 to buy coffee, install roasters, train farmers, and deliver a limited batch to customers—that is, test out the model  to see what works and needs to be improved in preparation for a full-fledged launch.

**The article is original from Forbes. Here is the link

Views: 16

Comment

You need to be a member of GNH Community to add comments!

Join GNH Community

Now available in multiple languages

Welcome (Bienvenido, Benvenuto, Powitanie, Bonjour! Willkomme,歡迎, ברוךהבא أهلا وسهلا, Bonvenon) to GNH Community

traducción, traduzione, tłumaczenie, traduction, Übersetzung, 翻译, תרגום أهلا ترجمة, traduko

                    

Imagine. Inform. Invest. Inspire.

Working together to build a stronger community - now and forever

 

 

Neighborhoods: What is Working

Open Street Project

An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit

By Ryan O’Connor, Director of Programs, 8 80 Cities Recently 8 80 Cities wrote a blog post about open streets being a labour of love. That being the case, the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was rejuvenating to see old and new friends who share our passion for open streets and are working tirelessly to create healthier, happier, and more connected communities across the world. The event, which took place on September 15-16, brought together more than 50 leaders who currently organize open streets programs or are interested in bringing the...

The post An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda

We hope you are getting ready and feel excited about the Open Streets Summit in Gretna/New Orleans! Taking place from September 15-16, 2018, the Summit will feature tours, presentations and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Attendees will learn about the nuts and bolts of starting or scaling up open streets programs, including: Route design and planning Partnerships with business and officials Social inclusion Safety and logistics Marketing and promotion Program evaluation through measurable goals and metrics If you haven’t done it yet, click here to register for the Open Streets Summit only or...

The post Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced!

The Open Streets Project is proud to announce that Ed Solis from Viva Calle (San Jose, CA), Romel Pascual from CicLAvia (Los Angeles, CA), Jaymie Santiago and Charles Brown from New Brunswick Ciclovia will join us as speakers for the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans and Gretna! Taking place from September 15-16 2018, the Summit will feature: Behind the scenes tour of the City of Gretna’s inaugural open streets program. Workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Training and inspiration for both -novice and experienced- open streets organizers and supporters...

The post Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced! appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Community Wise Podcast: Energy Efficiency & Affordable Housing

San Antonio, TX councilmember Roberto Treviño joins Maurice and Imani Darden to discuss energy efficiency and affordable housing sustainability. LISC launched its San Antonio office in 2016, the same year Councilman Treviño launched Under 1 Roof, a no-cost, needs-based program to retrofit the roofs of qualified residents. We are pleased to have a local official with us to share more about the conjoining of community, local politics, energy efficiency and housing stabilization.

The Justice League

We first published this story about the RVA League for Safer Streets and its co-founders, Jawad Abdu and Paul Taylor, in January. Sadly, Jawad Abdu died of a heart attack on July 13, 2019. We are reposting the article to commemorate Abdu's work and commitment to his community, which will be carried forward by his partners Taylor and Robert Morris.  In less than three years, the RVA League for Safer Streets, a basketball-plus-education program for young men from Richmond communities with high crime rates, has had an extraordinary peace-making impact in the lives of participants—and on the city at large. Its founders were informed by experience and insight wrought by decades behind bars, which is why the League is dedicated to keeping people out of prison, and helping those who are returning to become successful members of their communities. The article that follows contains audio quotes from the League's founders about pivotal experiences in their lives in and outside of prison.

For the Love of the Game—and the Neighborhood

For 13 summers running, Hoops in the Hood has offered a safe, healthy and enriching outlet for Chicago children in nearly 20 historically under-invested neighborhoods. With support from LISC and State Farm, the program has had a tranformative impact on its participants, and their communities.

© 2019   Created by Lee Cruz.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service