There is something euphoric that happens every time I have the opportunity to visit a coffee farm. Coffee farming in Haiti isn’t large scale production farming, or production farming on any scale for that matter, it’s more like large scale gardening. That environment is quite appealing. As you stand under the canopy of mango, lime, and banana trees and walk between the coffee plants, feel the lush soil, you get it. You know this is quite different than production farming.
The coffee farm yields per acre are much lower in Haiti than other areas of the world. One might only cultivate 500 pounds of coffee per acre in Haiti, due to the space used for the variety of trees growing among the coffee.
The diversity of the Creole garden is key to the Haitian farmers survival. They provide multiple food sources, varied harvests, as well as the cash crop of coffee. Diversification is important as it helps hedge their bets against the impact of a single failed crop. And survival it is, because the average household income in Haiti is $500 per year.
As we evaluate the issue of poverty and look at how to help farmers dramatically increase income, we believe the answer lies within the fine specialty coffee they grow in small quantities. Haiti has a history of a long line of dictatorships followed by trade sanctions that closed off the farmer from the rest of the world. The coffee exports in Haiti declined by more than 95%, and farmers had to make a change.
They cut down their prized coffee plants, turned them into charcoal, sold the charcoal for cash in markets, and then planted beans or other food products. Coffee production declined dramatically overnight.
It’s easy to see that farm regeneration is key to raising farmers income. For instance, if a farmer has 10 acres, but only 20% is currently used for coffee production, the farm is producing coffee at a very low capacity. As the farm is regenerated and all 10 acres utilized as a Creole garden, reforestation takes place, and the farmer increases his income by five times. Think about going from an annual income of $1,000 to $5,000 and the difference it would make in your household and your future.
Farm regeneration is an expensive, labor intensive and long term project and farmers do not have access to investment capital to help rebuild their Creole gardens. That’s where 1804 Coffee steps in, to provide the financial resources and direct investment to help the farmers we purchase from, regenerate the unused acres on their farms. In the coming years as their coffee production increases, so will their annual income.
We believe there is a demand for this high quality Haitian coffee, and by helping farmers create supply and increase production, we bring great coffee to the world while lifting farmers from poverty to prosperity. Every time you purchase and enjoy a bag of 1804 Coffee, you are an integral part of helping change Haiti in a sustainable way, by investing in his coffee farm. Every time you share this story through your social media you help introduce the world to a wonderful coffee they didn’t know existed! Thanks again for supporting 1804 Coffee!