To fight against poverty that plagues the lives of coffee farmers around the world, 20/20 project is working with coffee producer communities in Asia and Africa. Main targeted countries are Ethiopia from Africa and Nepal from Asia where 20/20 project is working to create useful connections among the producers, roaster and consumer that could benefit the sustainable coffee production.
What sets them apart from other sustainable coffee projects is their approach to the farmers. While “sustainable” is a word that holds certain important meaning to all the coffee consumers in economically stable countries, who want to help make the coffee production as much of a fair game as possible, it doesn’t exist among the challenged livelihoods of small holder farms.
20/20 project is determined to listen to the farmers more attentively. Sustainable has a much more diverse meaning to the farmers. It means getting help in coping with all the challenges these small holder farmer’s life is surrounded with, to keep the coffee production continued into the future. It also means some sort of assurance that their families wouldn’t further sink into poverty.
To get to the roots and details of challenges, coffee farmers face everyday one must pay attention to what they have to say. The solutions sketched then, will be much more effective. Farmers want to be better equipped to cope with fluctuating climatic conditions as well as market prices. Only then one may expect farmer’s progeny to continue their future into coffee farming.
But there is more. Poverty blows issues out of proportion that really don’t need to be so complicated. Basic education and health facilities are far-fetched dreams in poverty ridden world regions. A generation that goes without basic education or skills or health guidance for their entire lives, continues to suffer even with minor of the issues. 20/20 project is focused on resolving issues on the basic level.
While some 55% of the consumers around the world say they want to pitch in to make the lives of coffee producers easier, with paying higher price for their cup of coffee, “sustainability” has to be separated from “marketability”. It’s good that brands and co-operatives bring “evidence” to the consumers with the steps that they take to make a change in the life of producers. But the sole focus of consumers need not be photographs but the sole of the strategies.
What 20/20 project is doing is, helping farmers find secondary source of income. Shade trees are a great way to obtain secondary food and income. Lentil or orange trees serve great as shade trees providing optimal conditions for the coffee tree growth, adding to the overall environmental betterment, are cost-effective and give off secondary economic benefit. The project is further focusing on providing the locals with health facilities. People are recovering from illness or disabilities and moving towards learning new skills to earn an income and support their families courtesy of the 20/20 project. Sunita Sunar, 26 and mother of a young girl is one example from Pokhara, Nepal who benefited from the project and returned to empowered life.
Roasters are realizing how working with 20/20 project, instead of other charities can be different. Some 10,000 Arabica Red Caturra cultivar coffee trees have been planted near Pokhara in the Kaski District of Nepal. Next, the project has also set-up new educational facility to deliver new strategies to farmers to help them increase the yield and quality of coffee. Farmers prepared at the model farms of Nepal under the project will reap their first harvest in the year 2020 and hence the name “20/20 project”. The project also has plans to set up apiary of 30 hives to add to the means of income support of the coffee farmers and benefit the environment in the process.