【Community】Hidardo / Sebastian: CAFESMO
Hello, everyone. So we will indeed be doing a dual presentation because we think that will better reflect what CAFESMO represents as an organization. Hidardo, although he is 20 years younger than I, is the founder of CAFESMO.
My name is Sebastian and I am responsible for international relations. As I just told on the stage, I am originally from the Netherlands. But I moved to Honduras 20 years ago to work with abandoned children and battered women.
Four years ago, actually almost incidentally, I became aware that many coffee farmers in Honduras were leaving their livelihood and leaving their families behind to migrate illegally to the United States. We faced that problem continuously unfortunately, in Honduras and in the surrounding countries.
It is because the cost of production for many of the farmers is higher than the price they can fetch for the coffee beans. So basically, somebody works very hard. And despite that, they lose money and they leave the country. Now, many of these coffee farmers leave their children behind. And these children often, unfortunately, become victims of drug criminals or child prostitution.
They end up in children’s homes like the one I have been involved with for many years, and I thought we needed to look for other more sustainable solutions. This is why I decided to join CAFESMO because CAFESMO is an organization that strives to improve coffee farmer income, defend farmer families and strengthen solidarity and equal opportunities.
The philosophy of CAFESMO is based on the idea that we are all part of the same large coffee loving family, and family members care for one another.
If farmers are not doing well, roasters will not get the consistent quality beans that they are looking for. But once we open up, once we start recognizing each other’s needs and obstacles, we are better able to serve and satisfy the wider coffee community. This is why CAFESMO only seeks business relationships on mutual respect and equality.
It is also why we work hand in hand with all of our 280 farmer members. So how do we achieve our vision? To achieve that, we try to build a stable and united coffee family and for that we work on a variety of aspects that we view as instrumental to our goals. There are what we would describe as the soft factors.
These are often overlooked, but we think that they are actually the glue that keeps our organization and our community together. For starters, we organize the General Assembly twice per year at which each member can speak their minds and we vote about issues that are important to CAFESMO and to our common future.
Each member has one vote regardless of the size of their farm. We also have two specific groups that we empower and strengthen by organizing workshops and events specifically designed for them. A women’s group and a youth group. Some women’s husbands have died or left and they require support to learn how to work their land, just like our youngest members do.
CAFESMO also emphasizes the well-being of the wider community. We support our municipality schools and healthcare as well as access to water and road improvements. By helping to provide access to education, better health and clean water, we improve the lives of our children and families and enable them to build a better future for themselves with less need to migrate to another faraway country.
There are also more technical aspects that contribute directly to our members’ lives as well. Our founder Hidardo will elaborate on this.
Hello everyone. My name is Hidardo Hernandez. I’m honored to speak to you today.
In order to support our producers in our community, it is important to teach them new practices to improve their yields and the quality of their beans. All of it has to be in harmony with the environment.
We also promote regenerative agriculture and agroforestry systems. We also care for the environment and ecosystems. This philosophy is at the heart of our vision. In many projects, we work with local governments, NGOs, and schools so we can reach many producers.
We know we can’t change the world but we can change our community. We offer workshops year-round to enhance education and training for the producers and their children to generate more opportunities in the world of coffee. These workshops are focused on quality control, good processing practices, micro-lots preparations. This way, the producers can learn how to grow specialty coffee and also the market trends. The more educated you are, the better decisions you can make.
All their work comes to fruition at the end of the year when the coffees arrive at our warehouses and the samples go through the lab expressing those fantastic and unique profiles. That inspires the hard work that connects producers and roasters. That’s one of our big goals. It’s a great challenge because there is such a diverse range of profiles.
A young, dynamic team is leading the community. Most of its members are young women in our community. We have created decent and fair job opportunities so young people can develop professionally.
We’ve been fortunate to establish excellent partnerships with importers and roasters around the world. Through ethical and transparent relationships, we’ve built direct, long-term relationships with a focus on mutual growth.
It’s very rewarding to see producers build these long-term relationships. That allows us to gain a stable income and more sustainable production.
CAFESMO is a family that keeps on growing. We started with 90 producers in 2017, exporting 17 containers (300 tons). But today we have over 300 coffee producers, exporting 75 containers (1,350 tons) per year, of which 10 (180 tons) are micro lots.
At CAFESMO, we are proud of our coffee, our people, and our fraternity. We are a family. We are committed to developing long-lasting relationships. We’ll make sure that each cup of our coffee represents our work and our passionate effort.
Q: Thank you for your presentation. My question is, we know there is a problem in the coffee industry but for many people, it’s very difficult to take action. So what is the difference? You can take a big step. So why can you do it?
A: If you’re trying to say how we can change the world of coffee to a more sustainable and better world, I would say pay a little more for your cup of coffee because you are worth it and the coffee producer deserves it. And so does our planet.
When you pay a little more, we can do more to sustain our fincas, work on agroforestry and cultivate organic coffees. So we will preserve the planet and you will enjoy your cup of coffee a lot more because it tastes a lot better.
Through direct relationships, roasters and consumers can make more conscious purchases. Direct trade allows roasters to know where their coffee comes from.