Coffee Pilots in Brazil
The first coffee innovation pilot is now underway in Brazil to extend the benefits of Fair Trade to include farm workers. The farm workers participating have received training on Fair Trade principles, rights and standards, and a farm has been assessed against the first Draft Farm Workers standard developed by Fair Trade USA.
We anticipate the first certification decision to be completed in November. Based on the learnings from this first pilot, we may make some additional modifications to the standards, and then we will publish these draft standards for review in November.
ABOUT THE FARM
The Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima (FNSF) is a family-owned and operated farm in the Cerrado Region in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Ricardo Aguiar Resende and his wife Gisele direct the production, commercialization and social projects at the farm. Ricardo is a third-generation coffee farmer. With 230 hectares under coffee production, the farm produces 100% organic-certified coffee and is a leader in socially and environmentally sustainable practices.
The farm workers at this farm travel every day from three towns: Perdizes, Patrocinio and Igrejinha da Macega. The farm arranges the transportation for the workers every day. A few workers live at the farm too. Between 75 and 110 farm workers go to the farm every day (depending on the time of the year). . The farm already has several social initiatives benefiting the workers’ communities, such as supporting organic community gardens at the local school and offering medical attention at the farm level.
In the environmental side, with the inclusion of cattle and swine production to have access to natural fertilizer and a new biodigestor to produce all the energy needed for the farm, the farm is trying to produce all of the energy and most of the inputs needed for coffee production. A reforestation process including more native trees has been in process too. Some of the coffee is also shade-grown, which is not commonly found in Brazil.
Farm workers at the Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima will create a workers organization in the next month. This organization will help to facilitate the decision-making about the use of the Fair Trade premium for the future and will help the workers to continue discussing with management ways to improve the social and labor well-being of the workers.
The workers have experience with other certifications and are excited to participate in Fair Trade to build something together that improves the standard of living in their communities. There is a high level of commitment and support from the management team and the farm owners with the work we want to begin to benefit the farm workers in this farm.
Valdemi Pinto Fiuza, elected president of the Fair Trade Committee that will help implementing the social projects democratically selected by the workers at Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima.
The farm workers at Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima already elected six representatives for the Fair Trade Committee by voting democratically. This committee will help implementing the social projects democratically selected by the workers at Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima.
The workers already selected to focus the future social projects to be funded by Fair Trade premium in two areas: health and education. In education, workers want to fund technical trainings to be able to access better positions at the farm (including computers training, English training and technical/agricultural training in the specific areas where workers work).
In the health area, workers want to have access to dental services in their communities, access to health specialists (beyond the general medicine access they already have) and more access to medical exams.