Beyond the dizzying trade show floor, one of the most resonant issues among many industry professionals at this year’s SCAA Event in Boston naturally was roya, leaf rust.
Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, for one, used the event to roll out a disaster relief effort called the Roya Recovery Project to help Latin American coffee farmers and help minimize job losses among small holder farmers.
“As with many crises, there is lots of information available about Roya, but it’s difficult for farmers to discern what is really useful, ” says David Griswold, CEO of Sustainable Harvest. “Our goal with the Roya Recovery Project is to work with the industry to help farmers make well-informed decisions so they recover as quickly as possible from the devastation.”
Early donors to the Roya Recovery Project include Cafe Moto, Cafe Mystique, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Progreso. Here’s more from Sustainable Harvest on what the initiative will provide farmers.
The Roya Recovery Project focuses on tools and training that bring best-practices instruction to the rural coffee sector. Customized for certified organic farmers, the toolkit includes a DVD and complementary training manual that aggregates guidance from coffee industry experts from organizations including Anacafe, Cenicafe, Comsa, El Valle, IHCAFE and FNC so farmers can apply recommendations based on their unique circumstances. Additionally, Sustainable Harvest has launched a website, RoyaRecoveryProject.org, as an online resource for suppliers and others in the industry. The website will include an online forum where farmers, researchers, roasters and other supply chain representatives can share information and learnings about topics such as chemical treatments, tree replacement, disease-resistant varietals and farm management best practices.
Building on the Let’s Talk Coffee model of bringing the entire supply chain together, Sustainable Harvest will be hosting two Roya-focused events in 2013. The first will be a regional event, slated for June in Honduras, for members of its immediate supply chain. The second will be a global event in early November in El Salvador open to the entire specialty coffee industry.
Nick Brown is the editorial director of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.