“I am more Peruvian than a potato” or the Spanish version of “soy más Peruano que la papa” is an expression that Peruvians usually use to state their country of origin. Effectively, potatoes were cultivated by our ancestors, the Inkas, in great amounts to feed their families. However, Peru is more than potatoes; it is a unique country in South America due to its diversity. Among its qualities, the production of coffee excels. It is undeniable that coffee has had a huge impact on the Peruvian economy and the life of thousands of farmers for decades.
Being a coffee farmer during my youth has helped me understand what a farmer’s life looks like in a developing country. While living in a small rural village, my family had a lot of challenges to overcome. The lack of access to roads to sell our coffee beans in the market and limitations on equipment to process our coffee marked our character as farmers. These conditions together with the inconsistent price caused a lot of concerns among the members of my family.
However, nowadays the story is still very similar for coffee producers: coffee price being the most concerning factor. Coffee farmers don’t have the power to influence price because coffee is traded in a perfect competition market where the price is set by supply and demand. Additionally, during the selling process, middlemen keep most of the profits per pound of coffee. For these reasons, farmers have been the most vulnerable in the coffee industry.
Having the mentioned points as a reality, I have always had in mind to find ways to solve the coffee price uncertainty in my home country, Peru. In order to do that, I will take advantage of my background and most importantly your help.
How can we do it?
- Focus on Single Origin and Specialty Coffee. This type of coffee has a differentiator: quality.
- Cut as many middlemen as possible during the selling process and reward the farmers with the profits.
This is the time! By putting emphasis on the two points above mentioned, we can improve the lives of many coffee farmers in Peru. Please join me on this journey!