For decades, smallholder farmers who produce the world’s Botswana Email List supply of quality coffee in developing countries have barely earned enough to stay in business. Many have gone under. Millions of those still producing live in poverty and go hungry. Now climate change is threatening their livelihoods as well. The main problem is a supply chain stuffed with so many middlemen, each taking their cut, that only a fraction of the proceeds from pricey specialty-grade beans gets Botswana Email List to the grower. That was the picture in Nicaragua until Rob ,, and Will DeLuca started Vega Coffee in 2013. On the face of it, their solution seemed simple: Enable the growers to process and ship roasted coffee directly to consumers in the US—thereby cutting out up to a dozen Botswana Email List middlemen and retaining the earnings for themselves.
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It’s not that others hadn’t understood the problem before Botswana Email List, but no one else had figured out how to solve it at scale. This episode follows Vega’s story, covering: Rob’s initial discovery of the coffee growers’ dilemma (0:36); the structural inequities of the global coffee trading system (4:37); why Fair Trade and other “certified” designations fail to pull growers out of poverty (6:46); Vega’s early challenges with roasting ovens (11:31) and transporting fresh Botswana Email List beans to the US (13:08); tapping Nicaraguan growers’ skills (16:13) and prioritizing women to promote gender equity (18:22); growing the US customer base (22:05); expansion to Colombia through a partnership with Mercy Corps (26:35); and the promise of Vega’s model to rectify Botswana Email List other broken supply chains of commodities around the world (28:52). Additional Resources: Source articles for this episode include.
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The Problem With Fair Trade Coffee explains why the certification Botswana Email List isn’t enough to bring coffee farmers out of poverty, from Stanford Social Innovation Review The Coffee Crisis Is Coming, a Vox.com video on the trouble brewing on coffee plantations A Supply Chain Overhaul, some of the early press that brought visibility to Vega Coffee from Forbes.com ‘There’s No Botswana Email List Law’: Political Crisis Sends Nicaraguans Fleeing, a New York Times article about the political chaos that sparked three years of economic decline The full transcript of the episode is below. Robere’s no roads, no bridges, no electricity, no internet, no cell service and Botswana Email List just one bus a day. But once you get up there, you are suddenly at this incredible elevation in a totally green, beautiful nature preserve.