Updated: Nov 19, 2020
At Stean’s Beans, we work closely with local farmers at the coffee farm in Cyangugu, Rwanda. The families we work with often have a lifelong passion for growing coffee, but despite their strong love for coffee and well-proven experience in the field, they often live a life with many challenges and uncertainties. Coffee prices continue to deflate and on top of this, coffee drinkers around the world are constantly in search for the finest qualities of coffee without knowing where their coffee comes from or how it has been sourced. At this stage, many have spoken about an actual coffee price crisis, with the world market price for coffee now being at its lowest in a very long time.
If we continue working with the farmers in Rwanda, we feel that we need to take our responsibility to ensure they can continue to do what they do best, and that is growing coffee beans with a lot of heart and passion. Therefore, one of our main objectives is to make the coffee supply chain as transparent as possible. Coffee roasters often have little control over their supply chain as it is a complex process involving many links in the chain that are essential to the production of quality coffee. This consequential lack of transparency causes coffee roasters and buyers to lose track of the exact amount that coffee farmers are paid. At Stean’s Beans we want to take this control back.
Over the last two years we have been working on a scalable model to pay our coffee farmers and producers directly. In December 2019 we commenced a pilot project where we opened and sponsored 200 bank accounts for our coffee farmers in Rwanda. By opening and sponsoring these bank accounts, we are able to ensure a fair price for our producers coming from our customers anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the bank accounts enable us to make direct payments to our producers and supervise when bonus payments have to be made for superior quality coffee beans.
With our locally registered Stean’s Beans Rwanda entity, we will be able to deposit our coffee farmers’ payments directly into their accounts. By doing this, we do not only make sure coffee farmers receive their fair share, we can also offer the coffee farmers quality incentives and bonuses for only delivering the most qualified and ripe red coffee cherries. By incentivizing our producers to produce higher quality coffee we will in turn be able to ask a higher price in the markets where we operate. Coffee farmers will benefit from this greatly as they can expect an increase in their income. We believe this model is only a first step and that in the future, it can be used to expand upon as a scalable model for the support of thousands more smallholder coffee farmers.
In addition to this, the 200 bank accounts we have now opened will give our smallholder producers the opportunity to take loans from the bank for school fees and medical insurance for their families. By taking this big step forward, we hope to uplift our impact on the lives of the coffee farmers we work with so that they will be able to keep doing what they love for many more generations to come.