How direct trade is changing farmers’ lives and your cup of coffee

Posted on Posted in Direct Trade, Origin stories

The humble little coffee bean is a global super star but sometimes fame and popularity come at a price. And not the right price. At Pact our mission is to make coffee a force for good. Cutting out the middle-man and trading with farmers directly helps us achieve this.

Graphic showing shortened Pact supply chain compared with traditional steps
The traditional supply chain compared with the shorter Pact Coffee model

Protecting coffee farmers is not a new thing. Fairtrade is a term with which we are all familiar and the Fairtrade movement has helped ensure that farmers are paid a minimum wage for their coffee harvests even if there is a devastating frost or if the demand for coffee suddenly plummets.

Here at Pact, we believe that direct trade, a newer movement, is an even better alternative. Direct trade doesn’t just protect a farmer; it inspires them to produce the best coffee beans they can. Put simply, direct trade is a direct and long-lasting relationship between the talented farmers who grow the coffee beans and the wonderful people who won’t compromise on the coffee they drink. Middlemen need not apply.

Working together has many benefits. At the heart of our relationship is a respectful commitment to producing exceptional coffee together. Helping farmers improve the quality of their crop is a win-win situation for everyone. A farmer can charge more for a bag of great quality beans that will be used for speciality coffee, and you can enjoy some exceptional coffee.

Direct trade in action

Head of Coffee, Will Corby, with Victoria Concepcion Aguirra
Our Head of Coffee, Will Corby, with Victoria Concepcion Aguirra

We met Victoria Concepcion Aguirra on the Campanario Plantation in Honduras back in 2015. Then, her farm was just 70 square metres. Now – through working with Pact – it’s grown to three times the size.

On that first visit we made a few suggestions about the way she processed her coffee. As part of working with her, we encouraged Victoria to sort the cherries for ripeness, dry them as slowly as possible and ensure her processing equipment was spotlessly clean. These small changes made a huge difference and in a few years she went from selling commodity coffee for $1.65/lb to selling Pact her speciality coffee for as much as $3.3/lb.

The extra money has helped Victoria to expand her farm but also inspired other women in her community to do likewise. We’re proud to say she’s christened her extra land ‘Pact Coffee’.

We know our customers care about where and how their coffee was produced and so we are incredibly proud of the partnerships we have formed with our farmers and we are proud to be a pioneer of the direct trade movement.

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