During my visit to Honduras, last month, I visited the Cruz Alta community in Santa Rosa de Copan. I visited Efigio at his farm where the other farmers in his Fair Trade group were already meeting. Efigio is a young independent smallholder that grows coffee just as his parents and his older brother do. He and his neighbors have been working in meeting Fair Trade standards.
I asked Efigio about the election of the Fair Trade committee (the farmers committee that will implement the community development projects with Fair Trade funds) so he told me a little about that work and introduced me to a couple of the committee members.
I also talked with Efigio’s mother, who was harvesting (and eating) coffee cherries at Efigio’s farm. She and her husband also grow coffee but they are not part of any farmer organization. Her older son, Enos, joined a farmer organization a while ago. She is happy that Efigio is following his brother’s example and beginning to get organized together with his neighbors.
After that Medardo (the president of the farmers’ committee), and Claro (treasurer) asked consumers to buy their coffee in Fair Trade terms and explained us what they want to do first with the Fair Trade premium.
For these farmers, this is the first step to having a farmer organization. Working together would allow them to join Fair Trade, have a closer relationship with coffee buyers and obtain better prices. I am excited about the work we are beginning here and I look forward to supporting these farmers in creating a strong farmer organization.
You can also do your part, by making sure you buy coffee that supports farmer organizations and supports independent smallholder farmers getting organized.