The team at Great Lakes Coffee has been working hard to improve the quality of coffee from
a region that produces the cheapest and worst Arabica coffee in the World. The have
developed a unique program of farmer training. The training team establish a Lead Farmer
within a community and provide in depth training on agronomy, processing and harvesting.
They then assign 35 smallholder farmers to each lead farmer. They small groups are assessed
and paid bonuses as a unit so the better the quality of their coffee the more the group is
paid. The Lead Farmer is paid an extra bonus for the additional training he provides to his
colleagues ensuring adequate incentive for the knowledge to be passed on efficiently.
Red Cherry Program:
The Red cherry program is the next stage in the gradual quality improvement that has been
happening in recent years. The program focuses on quality first and foremost by asking
farmers to pick only the ripest cherries. The coffee is then dried on raised beds more slowly
than the commercial grades. After the coffee is dried further post processing at the mill
ensures all the defects are removed to provide the cleanest cup possible.
There are currently 1320 smallholder farmers involved in the Red Cherry program. Provided
sufficient interest from buyers is established this could be expanded to 4400 in the next two
‘pineapple, grape fruits super sweet.