As we mentioned in our story, ethically-sourced coffee— and the welfare of our producers— are the foundation on which we’ve built Khomanta. While Fair Trade does a lot of good and helps protect producers all over the world, it still falls short of what our farmers truly deserve.
So few realize the journey from farm to cup in the coffee industry is long and arduous. Most hard-working producers that make your morning cup so enjoyable (and even possible) live well below the poverty line. Behind almost every specialty and gourmet coffee, there’s a farming family struggling to make ends meet. We can do better than this— and show more gratitude for these skilled growers by improving their lives with every purchase.
While we always pay above Fair Trade prices for our coffee, there is more to our program than just its price. We respect the Fair Trade program and the protections it offers; there has been no better pioneer for better quality life for coffee industry farmers than the Fair Trade label. That said, Fair Trade certification isn't economically viable for most coffee producers. It also doesn't guarantee the producer is paid what we, the consumer, would expect to be called “fair.”
Pressured also by high demands and low profits from coffee production, growers are sometimes given no choice but to bypass Fair Trade certification. In order to get earlier payouts, farmers often sell harvests at much lower prices by any means possible—usually to pay off farm loans or provide for their families right away.
More often than not, the long process of Fair Trade certification doesn’t always take this reality into consideration. When given a choice, farmers that struggle the most will choose money today— instead of deferred higher profits tomorrow— every time.
Khomanta’s aim: to put more money in the pockets of producers so they can invest in their farms, their families, lead higher quality lives, and grow better and better coffee.
We work hard assuring that farmers—instead of just ourselves and our consumers—enjoy the fruits of their globally appreciated labor, from farm to cup and back again.
Khomanta is making strides beyond Fair Trade. Here’s how:
- Through better FOB price negotiations
FOB, or free on board, is the price touted by many transparent roasters and all importers and markets. The FOB price includes every cost from farm to the port at origin (origin distribution networks, coffee mill processing costs, associations/coops fees (20-30% avg), and various misc fees) leaving little for the producer. We believe the FOB price is deceptive and because of that we negotiate prices with the association/cooperative and with the producer ensuring after all is said and done the producer was paid exactly what we agreed upon and not a penny less.
- Through direct trade relationships, not just prices.
Coffee producers are usually members of coffee grower associations or coops, stable organizations that work to guarantee payouts harvest after harvest. Khomanta strives to be in a very similar position as these organizations: We aim to secure this very same stability for and with farmers, and only if this support reduces or doesn’t add risk to their livelihood.
- By establishing the Khomanta profit sharing program.
This program pays bonuses directly to producers and to a community fund based on profits we earn selling the specific coffee labels their coffee becomes. Bonuses are paid out at the end of the year with quarterly statements sent to producers. At the end of the year our producers from the same communities can decide how the funds will be used to improve their local communities.
Compared to Khomanta, the standard way coffee growers make money is only once per year when they sell their harvest. Alternatively, Khomanta’s bonuses offer producers and their families a well-deserved bit of relief throughout the year.
- By helping producers improve their farms’ intrinsic values.
We also go above and beyond profit sharing. We recognize how hard it is to "see the forest for the trees" when working with minimal resources and constantly choosing between welfare of farm or family.
Khomanta works directly with producers to improve many aspects of their production, such as agronomic analysis, 0% interest loans, better harvesting and fermentation tools, and educational resources. All of these immediately translate to higher quality coffee, higher ROI for farmers, and more enjoyment for you— and your brew.