Injection of knowledge from Maas International ensures higher yield for local coffee and tea cooperatives

Supplier of coffee and tea makers, Maas International, wants to offer its Dutch customers locally treated products, such as coffee from Ethiopia and now, Nepalese tea. Agriterra and Maas International will come together to work towards this goal as part of the 'Small Farmers, Big Deal' campaign. Agriterra is currently supporting Nepalese tea cooperatives via this initiative.

Coffee and tea farmers often receive a mere 2 percent of the total sales price. This is because the coffee and tea generally leave the country in which they are grown as unprocessed raw materials. The other 98 percent of the sales price goes to purchasers, processing companies, retail and the hotel and catering industry. Maas International wants to change this pattern by working closely with local organisations.

20 percent more profit
In Ethiopia for example, the company collaborates with the coffee import company Moyee, which has its own local roastery and packing facility. Here, Moyee works on a fifty-fifty basis with local parties and now employees 48 people. Coffee farmers receive agricultural training and now earn 20 percent more for their coffee beans. Maas International purchases 10 percent (20,000 kilos) of the total produce.

Impact@origin-programma
Maas International has invested in the Ethiopian branch, and supports local training programmes and logistics. "This investment is great for Ethiopia" says Wouter Fijnaut, director of Maas International. "More money stays in the country than when the beans are exported in an unprocessed state. We also benefit from it, as it ensures that we get good quality coffee that we can sell for an additional cost."

The coffee that comes from the impact@origina-programme is sold on the Dutch, German and Danish markets. The company hereby helps re-locate certain production elements back to the countries of origin. Maas International now hopes to take this practice over to Nepal. They'll then offer their European customers tea that has been processed in Nepal.

The results at a glance
The collaboration has already resulted in:

  • Agricultural training for coffee farmers
  • 20 percent higher revenue for affiliated coffee farmers
  • Better quality coffee
  • New agreement between Maas International and Agriterra for a project with tea cooperatives in Nepal 

Wouter Fijnaut (director of Maas International): This investment is good for Ethiopia as it means that more money stays in the country than when the green beans are exported in an unprocessed state.

Tea growers' cooperative
Agriterra itself is working in Nepal with various tea cooperatives, such as the Tinjure cooperative. This is a cooperative of 200 tea farmers. High up in the mountains, they grow a special tea variety which has a very intense taste. The cooperative selects, dries, grinds and packages the tea leaves itself: a great first step, but their product can deliver so much more. Agriterra consultant Berken de Leede agrees: "At the moment, most of the tea ends up on the Indian market as an anonymous bulk product."

"They are well aware that they're missing out on lots of business opportunities. They want to sell their tea as a premium product to regular buyers, but they don't have any experience. We support these business-oriented cooperatives in the fields of cooperative management, marketing and financial management, as well as improving the quality of the end product." 

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