Community Development from the Ground Up

Kirsten Daub is in Nicaragua visiting the co-operatives that provide Café Ético’s coffee beans. She sends us this update.

Pancasan coffee farmersGardeners and farmers are sure to recognize the beautiful dark earth in this photo for what it is: rich compost. But there’s a lot more brewing than the eye can see. Standing next to their organic fertilizer plant, members of the Flor de Pancasán Multi-Service Cooperative are proud to explain how this initiative, supported by Café Ético, is helping to both improve organic agriculture in the region and to strengthen the co-op itself.

For the past four years, Café Ético has supported a project to expand capacity of the co-ops and farmers that supply our organic, fairly traded coffee. This fertilizer plant is just one aspect of the project, but it’s a great one. Rene Coronado, the co-op’s manager explained how it works. The co-op mixes minerals with cow and chicken manure, molasses, rice husks, and other organic materials with yeast to create incredibly rich organic fertilizer. They’re about to purchase a rock breaker so they can better pulverize the minerals, making a higher quality fertilizer than a farmer could make on their own. The co-op sells this fertilizer to members and non-members alike, helping farmers increase yields, but at a much lower price and without the negative environmental impact of chemical fertilizers. Profits from the fertilizer’s sales are invested back into the co-op, helping to build the co-op’s capital, and paying out dividends to members.

This is just one of the many ways farmers in Pancasán are working together to collectively expand organic agriculture in their community. Café Ético is incredibly proud to have played a small part in their achievements.

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