circle of excellence
In Cameroon we work with smallholder farms from the Cameroon Boyo project led by Matti Focha and his team. The liberalization of the coffee and cocoa sectors of Cameroon in the early 1990s made coffee production unsustainable for smallholder farmers, leading many to replace their coffee trees for food crops. The Cameroon Boyo™ Coffee project was launched in 1998 with the goal to develop a new approach, the collaborative trade process, that would revive the production of coffee and bring about the economic empowerment of farmers in the process. In the past twenty years Matti has been busy doing just that, focussing on quality and promoting specialty coffee from Cameroon, a country is most known for Robusta production. We see Cameroon as a rough diamond, supported by excellent climate and altitude for the growth of Arabica plants.
Cameroon Boyo’s “Circle of Excellence” program gives smallholder farmers the tools, methods and guidelines for upgrading production and post-harvest processing. By focusing on quality at farm level they are able to build on the knowledge which forms the basis for achieving sustainable specialty coffee in the long run. Cameroon Boyo takes care of milling, sorting, storage and working conditions. Our role as The Coffee Quest is to provide feedback in Quality Control. Currently we differentiate two qualities; The village-based “Circle of Excellence” lots that represent small groups of farms working together on supplying uniform lots. Secondly, the limited volumes from Matti’s own farm Alongsi, and micro-washing station Belo Acha. Both locations are used to experiment with techniques and setup. They have achieved excellent results in both quality, farmer participation and professionalism, and are ready for the next step. Clients are invited to work with Cameroon Boyo and collaborate in promoting the village based groups, to create a joined approach, product and identity. This way, through collaborative partnership, farmers reach all the way into consumer markets.