How buying Aspretto coffee helps improve the lives of women and their families in Peru
This blog was created by Kim Reeves, Retail Category Manager Hot Beverages for Sodexo.
Kim travelled to Peru in August 2015 to trace the coffee beans Sodexo buy to create triple certified Aspretto coffee, back to their source.
As I have stated in my previous blogs, Fairtrade plays a vital role in providing security to coffee producers, by ensuring they are paid a price that covers the average cost of sustainable production. Whilst 80% of the Fairtrade premium is paid directly to farmers in this way, the remaining fifth is invested in projects to support he community as a whole.
One such project is CODEFAM, a committee for the development of women, which is run by La Florida, one of the coffee co-operatives we visited. CODEFAM was formed in 2005 and is funded by a $20,000 grant from a Swiss organisation which La Florida matches, with the help of Fairtrade.
I was quickly struck by how different life is for women in Peru. The leaders of La Florida eagerly demonstrated to us that is was possible for women to join the co-operative and talked about their support of CODEFAM, but it was very clear that these women aren’t considered equal in the way that British women take for granted.
Despite this, CODEFAM, which is run by a committee of 11 women from farms in La Florida, is taken seriously in the community and is doing important work. One of the programmes they administer is “La Florida Swiss” micro loans which are granted to families so they can grow their own produce, run shops and/or diversify in to other areas to generate income streams beyond coffee. If granted, this loan makes the difference between a family just surviving (with the support of the Fairtrade premium) and being able to support the next generation of their family out of poverty.
When we visited Cecile’s farm we saw an example of this. Cecile used her loan to purchase some land to grow crops other than coffee. These additional crops enabled the family to have a larger home and paid for their eight children to attend college and university (all education has to be privately paid for in Peru). The eldest two children have now completed their studies – one is a lawyer and the other a doctor.
That said, like many farmers in the region, Cecile’s family struggle with the low price of coffee and “La Roya”, a type of leaf rust. All of the children, including the doctor and lawyer, still come back to the farm to work any time they can.
By providing schemes like these micro loans CODEFAM is helping this community develop and build a better future. I am proud to say that Sodexo supports these communities through buying Fairtrade coffee in huge quantities to create Aspretto coffee.
This blog is the third in a series of blogs unravelling the Aspretto coffee journey and telling the story of the people who grow it. Look out for the final blog next week weeks and look back at my first and second blogs.