Purpose of the "Meet Your Coffee Grower" business:
- Increase the income of the local farmers (LigaMasiva, a business that links directly coffee growers in the Dominican Republic to consumers in the US, says: “The farmers we work with are making 168% what they earned last year and 238% what they made over the last ten years. “)
- Access to capital for the farmers via microfinancing
- Overcome the highly fragmented market- 500,000 coffee growing families in Colombia out of which, 60% have less than 1.5 hectares of coffee
- Cut out the many middlemen that currently exist in trade
- Guarantee a price to the farmers (as mentioned by Milo in the inspiration “The economy of Caldas”, “The coffee industry is cyclic in several ways, not only the coffee plant is grown and harvested during specific periods of the year, but its prices in the international markets rise and fall, making it unstable source of money for many local families.”)
- Establish a long term buying commitment with the co-operative
- Motivate farmers to return back to growing coffee. During most of the 1990's and the first years of this century prices were below the costs of production. This situation obliged a lot of growers to give up on coffee or to decrease their living standards. Some coffee growers even resorted to grow illegal crops.
- “Add value to the coffee beans". Currently, often the coffee beans are collected and sent for roasting outside of Colombia.
- Encourage young people, who come from farmer's families to stay in the region and work in the family business.
- Consult and educate farmers on agriculture- i.e. how to fight some of the most popular insect infestations (i.e. broca – a borer worm that nestles in coffee plants infested up to 25% of the crop in 2009-2010 in a farm near the city of Manizales, Caldas.)
- Local retail stores
- Colombians, who have migrated outside of Colombia. Those who have migrated and live in large Latino communities are often ignored in marketing and distribution by current players. The largest population of Colombians outside of Colombia is in Venezuela, followed by USA and Spain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colombian_diaspora
- Coffee lovers from around the world
- Subsciption model could be offered- i.e. 100 bags of coffee for the whole year with delivery schedule every month or every two months. (credits for the idea to Johan Löfström)
- Online store (Avi's concept "Caldas Direct Coffee Exchange could be integrated here)
- Retail stores in Colombia
- Retail stores in Latino neighborhoods in major cities in Venezuela, Florida and Spain (Madrid and Barcelona, with the highest Colombian population in Spain).
How could this work?
Create a cooperative of farmers who produce coffee. The “Meet Your Coffee Grower” business purchases all the harvested coffee from the farmers and gives it for roasting to a local roasting factory. For example, 3 different roasting options (to keep it simple) could be offered- dark, light, a combination of both. As suggested by Johan Löfström, a possibility could be to gather insights about people's favorite coffee roasting preferences. This means that the farmers will learn from the coffee lovers all over the world and adjust the roasting choices they offer.
Packaging is done locally as well (with pictures of the cooperative of local producers w/ their families on the package). The packaged coffee is sent to the retail stores locally and sold online.
It is best to enjoy fresh-roasted coffee within 2-4 weeks of roast, so it is important for the business to be able toPromotion : via coffee communities, local campaigns; radio campaign similar to the one, mentioned by Angelica Gonzalez.