The coffee industry, as it turns out, is a major source of deforestation. If we want to help our farmers earn a living wage, we need to ensure their environment is protected long-term. In countries across the coffee belt, including Ethiopia, farmers are being encouraged to chop down trees and clear forests to plant fields of coffee shrubs. If the Ethiopian forests continue to disappear at todays rates, wild Arabica coffee will be completely depleted by 2040.
Moyee coffee is grown in a forest not a field. For the farmer this means their land not only supply them with coffee cherries but also firewood, building materials and other herbs and plants. The forest provides a rich habitat for a wide variety of plants, insects, mammals and birds while providing the local community and farmers with improved soil, air and water and even protecting against soil erosion and land slides.
As a result of our default organic credentials and forest environment Moyee Coffee has a much lower CO2 count than other coffees. One kilo of Moyee produces 3.7kg of CO2 versus 8-9 kilos of CO2 for a normal kilo of coffee.
Our coffee farmers are also what we call default organic. They can’t afford to pay to get organic certification (though we are working on that!) but they also can’t afford to buy expensive and harmful chemical fertilisers or harvesting machines. They grow their coffee in the forest, using only natural compost materials and they pick the ripe cherries by hand.
As our farmers begin to prosper and their incomes improve we hope to keep them organic and so we have launched a long term sustainable farming training programme – promoting pruning, composting and other natural techniques. All of our farmers are trained in how best to boost their yields while preserving their forests. Farmers who attend our training courses are then eligible to receive the 20% FairChain bonus when they come to sell their coffee cherries at the washing station.
Some farmers own coffees trees that are more than 50 years old, whereas younger trees can offer higher yields (though it takes 3 years for a young tree once planted to bear fruit), so we’re working to plant new coffee shrubs. We also have plans to replant 1 million trees on 800 hectares of depleted land in 2020 which will become a new coffee growing forest.
There’s definitely a lot more we can do particularly around transport and packaging so we’ve launched an internal sustainability audit of our supply chain and we aim to share data for every stage of our value chain using BlockChain so that we can take our customers on the journey with us.