Meet Jude our new Director of Organic Certification. He has an undergraduate degree in Geology and is working on a Masters in Environmental Science at Bamenda University,Cameroon. Kevin Booth is back in the US until his next project . We are extremely grateful to have had him on this project. He has many talents and despite many communication challenges could still produce detailed spreadsheet !
About Our Project
Mocha Joe's has been brewing and roasting specialty coffee for over twenty years in Brattleboro, Vermont. In 2009, we started working with coffee farmers in Cameroon, West Africa, and have been importing the only specialty-grade coffee from that country ever since. In 2012, Mocha Joe's initiated a program through which smallholder coffee farmers were able to to obtain USDA organic certification for their crops, and thereby increase the value of coffee produced. A pilot organic farming group was established at 6000 feet in the Oku region, and this year we brought in the first USDA certified organic coffee from Cameroon! By adding 75 more farms to this project, it will become an ongoing, self-supporting venture between two villages on two continents.
Access to credit has always been difficult in the region, and has become an important component to the viability of the organic program. Although we have been offering micro-loans to our farmers during the growing season, there are other critical times of the year when farmers need money -- particularly for medical bills and school fees for their children -- and many are forced to take out loans against their future coffee crop, in effect selling their crop far below market value. Additionally, the best farming practices of Arabica coffee require special equipment which many farmers in Oku cannot afford. Facilitating access to a local credit union will enable coffee farmers to be more financially independent, and more likely to stay in the program.
We are off to a great start! And with your help to expand organic farm participation and facilitate farmers' access to a credit union, we can make this a community-sustained, viable project for years to come.
Much of Northwest Cameroon consists of small, family-owned subsistence farms, which supply some additional income through growing commodity crops like coffee. Over the past decades, traditional, chemical-free farming practices have given way to farming using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, to the detriment of public health and the environment. Multinational chemical corporations, it turns out, have the resources to come knocking on doors in even the remotest parts of the world. Even with increasing awareness of the benefits of organic growing practices, there are significant barriers to small farms taking on an organic certification program, and few in-country resources for farmers looking to overcome those barriers.
Your Donation Will Go Towards
- Expansion of the organic program in the Oku region through involving more farms, expanding farmer education, and providing funding for the purchase of essential supplies such as pruning shears, spades, drying tarps, fencing, pulping machines, mud boots, manure, neem seedlings, wheelbarrows, and mapping tools.
- Credit union memberships for farmers, and a revolving loan fund so that they can easily access money at critical times of the year when school fees are due and crop management is needed.
Help support our farmer partners, and be among the first to start your morning with a cup of certified organic coffee from Cameroon!
Check out some of our great perks! Soccer jerseys, Mocha Joe's swag, handmade bottle openers, real Vermont maple syrup, and lots of coffee, of course!
Special thanks to Phillip Younyi Che (Mocha Joe's Director of Operations, Cameroon) and Kevin Booth (Mocha Joe's Organic Project Director, Cameroon) for the clear vision, hard work, and diligent attention to detail necessary for organic certification
And thanks to Blick Bassy for permission to use his music.
Mocha Joe's is a registered trademark of Mocha Joe's, Inc., Brattleboro, Vermont, USA