Today, there are about 5,000 agricultural cooperatives throughout the country, and of these, 421 correspond to cooperatives of smallholders coffee farmers, with a total of 570,824 active members. The cooperative movement seeks to generate wealth, food security and employment, which ultimately results in poverty reduction; But the harsh reality is very different. With few exceptions, due to corruption and mismanagement of many boards of directors, these objectives are far from being met, and coffee farmers have been affected by decreasing their income in such a way that many have stopped growing coffee and the vast majority are very disappointed of the crop.
On our recent trip we met cases, in which the manager of the coop at the end of the season pointed out that after selling all the coffee (at a reasonable price), expenses had been deducted and coffee growers owed money to the cooperative !!! Which also means that for the present campaign, there was no money for fertilizers, pesticides, training, etc. Generating a negative spiral of destruction which will be almost impossible to leave, unless these farmers leave coffee cultivation for other cash crops.
We can help to begin to make this change by highlighting traceability even more; "Shouting out loud" the name of those cooperatives that are doing a good job; Generating more direct relationships; And asking the key question, how much are coffee farmers receiving per Kg of cherry? An optimum in Kenya is KSH100/Kg of cherry, that is, USD1 per Kg of cherry.