Brazil is known as the powerhouse of coffee with 2.3 million hectares planted, an average production of 45 million bags per year (Arabica 34 million bags, Robusta 11 million bags) and the most professional coffee farms of the world. But this is only half of the truth. 75% of producers are smallholder family farms achieving only a fraction of the production levels of the large scale agribusinesses. Nevertheless, they are the backbone of the Brazilian coffee culture and the real inventors of the famous “cafezinho”, a sweet small dose of coffee that farmers offer to visitors as a start of a friendly conversation.
When Neumann Kaffee Gruppe started their investment in Fazenda da Lagoa in Santo Antonio do Amparo in Minas Gerais, we were surprised to learn of the challenges that many smallscale producers in the direct neighborhood of the farm face. We decided to initiate a first project in 2007 in Santo Antonio, in close cooperation with Tim Hortons and GIZ. Ever since, our work has steadily expanded from working with 350 Arabica producing farmers in 1 municipality to now reaching more than 5,500 family farms in 20 municipalities in the regions of Sul de Minas and Matas de Minas.
What's more, our partnerships grew with the additions of International Coffee Partners, Fondazione Lavazza and S&D Coffee and Tea from the private sector as well as DEG, IDH and IDB/MIF as public donors. Crucial to our work, however, is also the strong cooperation with local organizations and institutions, including EMATER, EPAMIG, Fundação Banco do Brasil, SEBRAE and SENAR, among others. These institutions develop important tools and resources and are key to ensuring outreach to farmers, as well as furthering an exchange of knowledge. Our aim: improve the future livelihoods of Brazil’s coffee farming families.
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