Pioneers from the jungle
‘Clear-felling is taboo for the Quechua community.’
‘The coffee cooperatives Waylla Kuri and Jatary are showing the way for the whole region. They have managed to keep improving the quality of their coffee. That means they are no longer tied to the global coffee market price and now enjoy higher prices on the gourmet coffee market. Production follows clear rules: coffee and other products may only be grown on land that has been used before. Clear-felling of primary forest is taboo – the community keeps a close eye on that. Consequently, the focus is on growing quality crops. To do this, they use strict organic criteria and work to improve their production methods. We support the cooperatives in this by procuring coffee threshing machines, for example, and improving drying tents. We also help to establish contacts with new potential buyers.
The Quijote Kaffee company in Hamburg is a major name in the sector because this German roasting house imports directly, is well-known and uses a network of allied coffee roasters that its partners can join. This makes the coffee cooperatives and their way of doing business better known. It is important for them to protect and preserve their own living environment. In Ecuador, this can by no means be taken for granted. In Napo Province, people from other regions of the country, too, learn from the members of the Quechua ethnic group how to use natural resources sustainably, respect nature and nevertheless generate a good income. Their status as a role model depends crucially on economic success, in which marketing new products such as guayusa can also play a part. The leaves of this tree contain caffeine and are traditionally used to make a herbal tea with a fruity, refreshing taste that has met with initial demand in Europe as well. Here we see further potential for a product that is typical of the Amazon region, grown in the rainforest gardens – the chakras – and has good prospects on the international market, to the benefit of the communities, the Amazon region and the climate. After all, the Quechua people’s traditional cultivation methods protect the rainforest, a key climate regulator, that can absorb huge amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and store the carbon from the gas in its plant life and soil.’ —
published in akzente 3/19