Coffee farming is becoming more challenging. As the commodity price of coffee drops to close to ten year lows, many producers risk the price they are paid for coffee dropping below their cost of production. In remote areas, such as Colombia in the Huila region (yes the town is named Colombia), dry conditions and difficult access makes coffee production even more challenging. In the face of these challenges, 310 women banded together to form the Alimucaes cooperative.
In order to better organize, the women further divided into 15, subgroups, hence the name “quince,” Spanish for 15. Each of the fifteen groups has an elected leader who is responsible for representing and advocating for the 20 or so small farms that make up their subgroup. These small farms average only five hectares in size, so alone each farm does not produce enough coffee to sell directly into premium markets. Combining the production from these remote areas into one continuous lot allows the women farming in this remote town to sell their coffee as a specialty lot, thereby bringing more money into their households and local economies. Each leader is also responsible for allocating and reinvesting a portion of the profits back into their community, in order to increase resilience and well-being.
This access to the specialty market enables these women to fetch over 50% more for their coffee than they could by selling into commodity markets. By purchasing this coffee you are becoming the final connection in a chain of well-being and fairness that links producer to consumer. This connection empowers the hard working producers to reinvest in their crop and in their communities ensuring delicious coffee and happy healthy neighbors for years to come.
When we tasted this coffee we were delighted by its sweetness, a sign that the coffee is cultivated, picked, and processed with the utmost care. “Quince” is a testament to the power of collective action to uplift communities. The result is not only inspiring, but delicious.