If you source coffee from Peru, or like to keep up with current events around the world, you may have heard of striking coffee farmers blocking roads and clashing with police last week in Selva Central, central Peru. The farmers participating in this strike were protesting a lack of government support in the face of Roya, which has devastated farms in central Peru. The farmers protesting were all independent of cooperatives, and as a result have endured an especially difficult harvest season without the social and financial support that cooperatives offer.
By the end of the week, the government reached an agreement with the farmers, pledging to provide support to these independent producers during this difficult Roya outbreak. While no Sustainable Harvest® producers were involved in the strike, this news was good for everyone involved in Peru’s coffee industry. Not only would these farmers receive support to help alleviate the hardships of Roya, but the roads would be opened and the transport of coffee, which had been slowed for everyone across the region, would return to normal. What could have become a drawn out, indefinite strike, was ended quickly and the impact to our supply chain was minimal.
Although the strike did not last long, it nevertheless reinforced the value of Sustainable Harvest’s® vertical origin approach in times of crisis and uncertainty. Before the strike had even started, our office in Lima was aware of the protesters’ demands and timeline for striking. They were able to be in contact with our producers right away to determine how the strike would affect production, transport, and ultimately quality at origin. They were able to plan for the situation and had contingencies in place for whatever scenario resulted, ensuring that our clients’ coffee would be minimally impacted. And they were able to convey all of this information to our entire company so that we were all aware of the current status of our coffees and able to keep our clients updated with the latest information from our cooperatives.
Our approach to work at origin is multi-faceted, but the strike in Peru last week demonstrated one of our business model’s most important characteristics: In times of instability and uncertainty, Relationship Coffee is a force of dependability, solidity, and resoluteness.