We've been asked many times by clients, coffee roasters and people who just care about Colombia, "How can we help? How can we best support the people for whom we care?"
In our network of coffee farmers, we've seen folks struggle mightily with cash flow. With a delayed harvest and limited access to town centers because of the widespread roadblocks, farmers still have to lay out money to maintain their farms and families with little money coming in at this time.
Osito is doing its best to begin pre-financing programs with some of our core relationships based on actual need but there are other ways that coffee roasters can support the people from whom we are all buying coffee.
Osito is asking our network of coffee buyers and roasters to donate a total of $4,000 USD. For each dollar raised, Osito Colombia will contribute a dollar of its own money for a total of $8,000 USD.
How will this money be used?
- First, part of the money will be used to supply each and every one of our ~150 producer partners with a sufficient supply of hermetic bags for the storage of parchment coffee for the entirety of the 2021/22 harvest. While Grain Pro and Ecotact become throw-away items for coffee roasters, they are a huge cost for the average Colombian farmer. Many opt instead to use lower quality bagging which does not adequately preserve the quality of coffee they worked so hard to achieve and for which they should receive a premium.
On the surface, this may not sound like a lot but it is otherwise a meaningful cost to producers that, if not spent, could cost them money on the back end.
- Second, the rest of the money will be used to gift one farmer, from each of the major associations with whom we work, with a brand new drying facility. For many farmers, drying beds that require regular maintenance and occasional replacement are a MASSIVE cost that regrettably eats into their profits from the year. Once again, if they choose to NOT pay the money up front for this maintenance, it will likely end up costing them money eventually.
Our hope is to raise this money in an effort to allay some of the regular costs that farmers deal with but in a way that also helps preserve a long-term healthier income stream.
We care deeply for our partners. They are not just associates...they are often friends and sometimes even family. We recognize that the last year and a half has brought unprecedented challenges on top of the fact that coffee farming is never easy, even in a good year.
We hope that our network of people in coffee consuming countries will rally around these farmers in order to relieve some of the stresses associated with their regular costs. This is not a "silver bullet." This does not fix the issues that plague all supply chains. This DOES, however, put a dent in at least some of the costs that make life harder for coffee producers in Colombia.