Brazil

Brazil Regional Project
Minas Gerais

Brazil

Brazil: The 3rd Coffee Quality Competition
Santo Antonio do Amparo

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Farmer Story: Meet Sr. Jesus
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Farmer Story: Meet Sr. Jesus

Sr. Jesus – a smallholder farmer who has first experienced the potential his coffee lands carries. Knowledge about the quality of his coffee puts him in a better bargaining position with the local traders, reducing the defects makes him improve the quality of his beans considerably. He now aims at expanding his fields to 1,2ha.

 

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“It’s time for the coffee producers here to plant more coffee – the project is giving considerable support to us.”

SR. JESUS LOURENçO DA SILVA, FARMER


Sr. Jesus is a coffee farmer living 11km of the small city Cascalho, in Minas Gerais, Brazil. This province of the country is the main producer of coffee and milk for Brazil, the landscape being marked by mountains and fertile lands. Sr. Jesus owns 3 hectares of land here, where he lives and works together with his wife and their child.

Sr. Jesus dedicated 0.7 hectares of his land to coffee, 3000 trees are already planted. In addition to coffee, Sr. Jesus has 2 hectares of native pasture and 0.3 ha of natural forest for permanent protection. Next to this, he is keeping a small part of his land free to have space for drying his coffee.

To offer better living conditions to his family, Sr. Jesus also works in a large coffee farm nearby his property. Eager to expand his own knowledge, he always accompanied the agricultural engineers during their visits on the farm. Sr. Jesus also invited them to his own small fields, but none ever visited his plantation.

The project made technical guidance accessible for him. Sr. Jesus used to apply fertilizers without previous soil analysis, and lacked control of diseases and pests. He changed his practices and by now, the first positive changes are becoming visible on the small coffee plantation: the crop has improved remarkably. The project helps Sr. Jesus to perform soil and leaf analysis which allows him to use appropriate fertilizer and dosify it much more accurately. And he is now following the guidelines for control of pests and diseases of coffee.

One of the first steps for Sr. Jesus was to join the Producer Association of the region. This farmer organization was just set up in June of this year with the support of the project; and for Sr. Jesus, it was the first time to join such an association. The region’s coffee trade used to be handled by local brokers. This year, the project staff has performed an extensive analysis of the coffee quality, providing the farmers with knowledge on their coffee and thereby improving their bargaining power with the broker. Sr. Jesus’ coffee had always been of a good quality (“bebida dura”). Yet, this season, he was able to reduce the number of defects even further, thanks to applying best practices in coffee drying and separating the high quality beans of those of minor quality. And thanks to the classification of the quality, Sr. Jesus now receives 2,25% (7 Reais; about 2,97€) more income per bag of coffee.

Sr. Jesus’ average production used to be around 28 bags per year, his best yield was 33 bags in 2007. This year, he will be able to harvest 52 bags – and even despite this high production, his plants are in a good condition.

Sr. Jesus’ house is modest but well maintained. At the moment, there is no current water yet, the family uses a water tank. However, the local sanitation company has recently started  expanding its pipes to the region where he lives. His family aims at growing vegetables, but as water still is scarce, they are considering to merely plant vegetables in the rainy season. The family’s son has recently left the family to work in one of the bigger cities in the surrounding, as Sr. Jesus’ land is too small to nourish all  family members. Sr. Jesus dream: expanding his grounds so to enable his son to move back to them – and see his grandchildren grow up.

“It’s time for the coffee producers here to plant more coffee – the project is giving considerable support to us.” Sr. Jesus says. His plans are set: he wants to plant 2000 new coffee trees this year, expanding his coffee fields to 1.2 ha. The project staff is closely accompanying Sr. Jesus, tracking his costs with the Farmer Field Book. The central idea: reduce his costs, maximize his profits – help for self-help.

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Other Projects in Brazil

Brazil Regional Project
Minas Gerais
coffee&climate
worldwide
Brazil: The 3rd Coffee Quality Competition
Santo Antonio do Amparo