ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Farmers and the community of Las Sabanas, Nicaragua will have an income boost due to the incredible global demand for chia seed through collaboration between Mayorga Coffee, Fabretto Foundation, and the Cinco de Junio cooperative. The idea stemmed from the trio's concern for the impact of a fungal pesticide called "roya," which devastates coffee crops, especially those grown in organic conditions. Farms throughout Latin America have been hit very hard by this plague, with many seeing production drop by 20% to 50%.
"I remember meeting with Jimmy, one of the leaders of the Cinco de Junio cooperative, this past spring to follow up on our roya conversations and seeing the stress in his eyes and hearing the concern in his voice when he was telling me about the impact on the upcoming harvest. Some farmers were facing an impact of 50% of production. I honestly didn't think about our supply needs at that time. I just thought about the fact that farmers were going to lose money to pick coffee during this harvest cycle and would probably not be able to feed their families. Beyond being an industry crisis, I saw this as a human need that we had to address quickly," states Martin Mayorga of Mayorga Coffee. "Stickers, marketing campaigns, and photo ops are the methods by which too many in this industry pretend to address these types of issues. We believe in getting in front of our partners, looking them in the eye, shaking their hand, and collaborating with them for long term sustainability. They needed our help, so we put our heads together to create a solution that would at least put food on the table while we work as an industry for a long-term solution for roya," concludes Mayorga.
There had been a tremendous demand for chia seed in the US and fortunately ideal conditions for growing quality chia seed happen to be identical to the ideal conditions for growing quality coffee. The Fabretto Foundation provided site surveys, research, planting, and technical assistance for each farmer. Mayorga financed the seeds, planting, cost of an agronomist, and made the commitment to purchase the entirety of the chia harvest. The Cinco de Junio cooperative, whose members are part of the chia project, is acting as a central receiving and export packaging facility.
Planting began in mid-September on 100 carefully-selected acres throughout Las Sabanas. By mid-February, the chia will be harvested, cleaned, and shipped to Mayorga for packaging and distribution under its Harvest of Hope® brand. Current estimates are about 40,000 pounds of packaged chia that will go to market in the United States.
About Mayorga Coffee
Founded in 1997, Mayorga's vision is to revolutionize inefficient and inequitable business and social models for the purpose of creating sustainable growth opportunities for coffee farmers and communities.
SOURCE Mayorga Coffee