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All the Difference in the World

I am delighted to share the news that coffee sourced through JNP Coffee is now available through several retailers on both the East and West coasts. Call us to find one near you.

I hope you especially enjoy this Burundi coffee because a portion of all sales go directly to the women farmers who harvested the cherries last spring. Dozens of Burundi mothers, wives and widows lined up at the Kinyovu washing station just before Christmas as I delivered their share of premiums for the superior quality of their coffee cherries. The average premium payment -- $40 in U.S. currency or about 71,000 Burundian francs – may not seem like a lot of money, but it is enough to help the women coffee farmers finance a side business, educate their children, or purchase fertilizer to ensure another quality harvest.

For someone living in the countryside in Burundi, the premiums can make a world of difference. It was wonderful to celebrate this milestone with the women farmers. They told me how the money helps them and their communities. Listen to a few of them describing the positive impact these payments have had on their lives.

“The premiums help the women in many ways, particularly those who have children,” said coffee farmer Gaudance Nijimbere, who represents other women at the Kinyovu washing stations. “We can provide a better future for our children by sending them to school, buying them uniforms, and purchasing school supplies to enhance their learning.”

Gaudance also uses her premium to buy fertilizer for her trees, resulting in a higher and better yield of coffee. She trains other women on best farming practices and encourages them to bring only the finest quality cherries to the washing station at harvest time.

“I bought several cows and new coffee plants with my premium,” said coffee farmer Candide Nirera.

The significant premiums “mean a lot of change for the farmers and their loved ones,” said Niyonzima Nastasia, a coffee farmer and supplier to the Kinyovu washing station. “We can purchase goods our families wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Bigger payments also bring more help for the farmers, Niyonzima continued, and Nimbona Matilde explained that premiums allow her to hire workers to help her take care of her coffee trees. When coffee farmers hire help for the fields, the community also benefits.

On this trip to Burundi, I brought a client on the journey so he could see the source of the coffee he buys from JNP Coffee and meet some of the dedicated women and their family members who sustainably produce the high-quality crops.

At the Kinyovu washing station and at others across Burundi, the women farmers earning premium payments are all members of the IWCA – International Women’s Coffee Alliance, Burundi chapter. Through the IWCA, they learn how to improve the quality of their coffee and how best to grow the cherries with sustainable practices, as well as learn basic financial literacy from Burundi Friends International’s program. Once the coffee is sold by JNP Coffee to global customers, that level of quality nets them a premium. Close to 2,000 women are now involved in the program.

After harvest, the women’s husbands often bring the cherries to the washing station, but we encourage women to bring their harvest themselves to ensure the amount is recorded in their name. When a man shows up to collect the premium, we ask him to bring his wife back with him so she will receive the premium directly.

Altogether, JNP Coffee will pay close to $80,000 in bonuses to women farmers across Burundi. They benefit directly from the fair market prices paid for our high-quality, direct-source, sustainably grown, women-produced coffee. These funds are above and beyond their payments received on cherries harvested last spring.

The 2017 harvest was bountiful and of very good quality. I was so pleased to join in the celebratory dance with the women whose work and dedication made it all possible.

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