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Duber is a 27-year old coffee grower who lives with his wife and their new-born in Heliconia. He has been cultivating coffee for the past 14 years in his 3.5 hectares of land in Heliconia.
As a member of the cooperative, he is automatically certified Fair Trade. The cooperative offers trainings to him and other members and visits Duber quarterly to provide guidance and check whether he complies with the requirements from Fair Trade. He explains: "To be a member of the cooperative and have the Fair Trade certificate, we are not allowed to use certain agro-chemicals to avoid contamination. Also, we receive trainings to improve the quality of our product. For instance, they teach us how to use machines, handle the pulpers, etc. They always encourage us to document our activities and give us notebooks and calendars. Additionally, the cooperative provided me with a protective suit for fumigation that I wear when applying agrochemicals and provided my father with an African bed for drying the coffee."
In addition to this, Duber conducts several practices that improve the sustainability and quality of his farm. He uses organic compost partially made from the native tree guamo, weeds manually and cultivates numerous crops in the proximity of coffee plants such as cassava, maize, beans, tomato, avocado, lemon, and orange trees. The coffee drying process takes place under an African bed and the coffee pulp is stored in a well-sealed tank. The very few times he applies agrochemicals, he uses a protective suit provided by the cooperative and stores the products in a separate room far from his house and coffee. Unfortunately, he does not have a wastewater treatment system.
Duber sells his coffee to the cooperative of coffee growers in Antioquia due to the premium members obtain. He explains how it works: "As members, we are entitled to a premium per pound or kilo of coffee sold. There is a withholding of some contributions, 1% of which goes to the cooperative, 1% to us. We can make use of this percentage buying account keeping tools, mobile phones, computers, or even fertilisers. Basically, any inputs that we need for the farm."
Keeping track of the farm's activities is crucial for Duber. He uses a booklet in which he registers every process from daily activities to sales. Duber takes daily draft notes of what he did and every Saturday he looks at them and write them down in his booklet. He elaborates on the benefits of such process: "I register everything because then I realise how much I am getting at the end of all the activities. And whether what I am doing is profitable or not."
After being introduced to the blockchain technology, Duber welcomed the idea and showed special enthusiasm. He says: "For me this project would be very good because I have been waiting for such thing for a long time. I would like to know where my coffee go after it leaves my farm, what other parts of the chain are doing with it and where it is finally delivered.”
In his opinion, this technology can have potential benefits: "By having more information from different people and actors, the quality of my coffee can improve. They can tell me what things I should keep doing or what others should be stopped. It would be very good to find out about more details about the entire process. For instance, on how to ferment coffee to obtain a more bitter acid or a milder acid. Because at the end of the day, it's all those little things that make a difference."