The Frontera de San Ignacio Coffee Farmers Cooperative in northern Peru recently bought the former CECOOACNOR (Central Mill for the Northwest Coffee Farmer Cooperatives) dry mill. The mill is the best in the country for processing specialty grade coffee, with excellent machinery and expert personnel. It is located in the town of Chiclayo on the Pacific coast, an eight hour drive from the Frontera offices inland in San Ignacio
Last year we bought a little over 100,000 pounds from this coop to be used as Fair Trade Organic Peruvian and as a flavor base for the Fair Trade Seasonal Coffees. Originally a group of cooperatives, including Frontera, planned to jointly operate and own the mill, but the initiative ran into financial difficulties. Despite the setback, Frontera decided to invest in the purchase of the mill on its own, refusing to lose out on the opportunity. As a result, the cooperative decided to invest $400,000 in purchasing the mill. The plant is a sound investment and has the capacity to provide services to many other cooperatives and farms in the San Ignacio region. Frontera itself only processes about 1.5 million pounds of parchment a year, while the mill’s capacity is 10 million pounds. Through renting milling services to other cooperatives and producers, Frontera will have a new source of income.
Owning the mill will allow Frontera to have greater control over the processing of its coffee lots throughout all stages of processing. The co-op will lower its costs for milling, and will be able to better standardize the quality of its coffee. In addition to the financial investment in this new infrastructure for the co-op, the purchase of the mill also signals an investment in the growth and development of the cooperative as an organization. This new stage for Frontera will diversify the expertise and income of the cooperative.
Some or all of this copy comes to us courtesy of our good friends at Sustainable Harvest whose mission is to improve farmers’ lives by creating a transparent and sustainable coffee supply chain, ensuring that quality coffees are sourced from the finest producers and that coffee arrives reliably in its highest quality state to preeminent coffee roasters.