MEET THE SLOW FARMERS!
Slow farmers are the backbone of Slow’s sustainable coffee.
Click through to visit any of their farms and learn more.
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HOW WE WORK TOGETHER
WE MAINTAIN ON-THE-GROUND PRESENCE IN LAOS
We don’t do sourcing trips – we stick around! (With a team of 6!)
The 37 Slow farmers are supported by our on-the-ground team of six, consisting of coffee growing-, community engagement and forestry experts.
This is one of our most important principles at Slow – we believe that to form true partnerships with farmers, we need to be there together through thick and thin, and solve problems in a locally-led, ’bottom-up’ manner. Keeping a presence in Laos is also the only way we can guarantee full transparency to our customers.
Believe it or not, 99% of coffee companies do not operate in this way (even the other sustainable ones!)!
WE NEED TO FOCUS ON BIG VOLUME, AT A DECENT PRICE – TO TRULY INCREASE INCOME
A typical Slow farmer will produce 10% of Typica (a highly coveted varietal commanding very high prices), and 90% of Catimor (a good varietal, often ending up on the commodity market.
STABILIZING INCOMES IS AS IMPORTANT AS INCREASING INCOMES
That’s why we buy all types of coffee at a good price – not just the cream of the crop at a very high price, which is the traditional solution proposed by most high-end, sustainable coffee
In addition, to reduce risk. we do not expose Slow farmers to price-swings of coffee. We pay a fixed minimum price, so that they can be sure of the income they get.
DIVERSIFYING THE SOURCES OF INCOME IS AS IMPORTANT AS INCREASING INCOMES
EACH SLOW FARMER IS A MICRO-ENTREPRENEUR
Slow farmers wet-mill and dry their coffee in their own micro processing units and have individual buying contracts
Each Slow farmer has their own micro wet-milling unit, fermentation tank and drying tables.
Processing the coffee further besides just picking berries results in a higher economic value-add for the Slow farmers, and provides a greater sense of ownership for the product.
In addition, we have individual annual contracts and direct payments between Slow and every Slow farmer, to increase sense of security and ownership. This is how they prefer it and this is how we do it!
The Slow farmers’ way of working together is very different from the traditional farmers’ cooperative model, where thousands of farmers all mix their coffee together, and it is processed at a