Great weather, warm and friendly people, and excellent food. Can I just stay and live here in Guatemala? What could make coffee farming so difficult? Actually, a lot. While, coffee grows in some of the most beautiful and tropical places on earth, look a bit closer and you'll find many sources of stress in managing a coffee farm. Coffee farming is a delicate art that takes years to master. I've witnessed the rush to transport freshly picked coffee cherries from the fields to the processing station with only a 24-hour time limit before fermentation starts. It takes a massive supply of water to wash coffee, separate the heavy (higher quality) beans from the lighter beans, and physically move the coffee beans throughout the processing station. What follows is the hand selection of the best beans while removing defective beans throughout the final processes.
At Los Andes Primary and Secondary School, the children are excited to pass around roasted coffee samples. In Guatemala, coffee is consumed by youth who understand and appreciate how it grows and how it affects people's lives. For Guatemalans, this goes well beyond enjoying a routine sip. When I asked them "How many of you drink coffee?", almost 100% of the students eagerly raised their hands. The proceeds from sale of coffee and tea helps support the school. BD Imports is proud to be a part of their efforts.
Coffee can take you to many places, meeting all types of interesting people. When coffee is 80% of a country's GDP, it would only make sense for the President and other high level officials to participate in an international coffee convention held in their country. The 11th Annual African Fine Coffees Association Conference held in Bujumbura, Burundi Feb 13-15, 2014 included an appearance by President Pierre Nkurunziza, US Ambassador Dawn Liberi, and Minister of Agriculture & Livestock of Burundi, Odette Kayitesi. It was encouraging that they discussed the topic of Coffee Farming a Family Business with a focus on engaging women and youth. It is through the efforts of all parties, both private and public sectors, and non-for-profits that we will get to a sustainable industry providing a viable livelihood for everyone in the supply chain.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo became the 6th African country to join the International Women's Coffee Alliance network of global chapters. The goal of the non-for-profit organization is to empower women in the coffee supply chain by helping women live more meaningful and sustainable lives and to help advance women into decision making roles. Chantal Binwa, a coffee farmer from the D.R. Congo started this journey of forming a national chapter after attending a leadership training workshop over a year ago for African women in coffee. Chantal was proud to join the network by signing a Letter of Understanding with IWCA.
I spent three and a half days on the ground in Burundi with an equal amount of travel time to get there and back. Was it worth it? I think so. I recently read that if sacrifice helps a person undergo positive change, then it's worth it. I do hope that someone was inspired, encouraged, or changed. I know for certain that I was, so I believe that this journey to help empower women in coffee is worth it. I'm thankful for a supportive family that shares this same belief!
News related to our Community.
News related to Gender Equality and Women in Coffee
News related to our Travels.
General news and information from BD Imports
News related to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals
Official Press Releases
News related to our Global Supply Chain
A photo collection from some of our travels.