Introducing the Coffee Farmers
In this blog post we would like to introduce the Coffee Farmers who we have worked with and help you understand how our technology fits into their progressive work.
As with any innovative company we have had to constantly consider everything that could go wrong at every stage, and a great uncertainty was how coffee farmers would react to our concept of using the Nexcito to support farm management decisions. A major success of this project for us has therefore been the confirmation from farmers and co-operative leaders that we are producing something that is truly useful in their businesses.
Experience vs. Scientific Data
Producers already have a profound understanding of the environment and how it impacts their production. They are also aware of how to manage the environment to help bring conditions to manageable levels. The understanding of their crops and the local environment is far more detailed than any non-farmer could ever grasp. However, what has been confirmed, as is the case in most industries around the world, is that there are simply some things that cannot be determined by experience alone.
All coffee farmers we have spoken to have identified the effects of climate change as a serious challenge to sustainable production. Taking increasing global temperatures as an example, farmers know that this causes water stress, limits their production and consequently their income. However, without the correct monitoring tools you cannot truly understand whether this is caused by root dieback from excessive soil temperatures, excessive water loss from increased evapotranspiration, or leaf damage from intense heat. In turn, this leaves farmers with no way of knowing what action they should take.
Our role as a business is to therefore facilitate how this vital information is obtained and to ensure that farmers can use it in their decision making.
Joining the Innovation
This idea couples nicely with the innovation that we have observed on farms just within the small areas we have visited. To name a few examples we have seen farmer led innovation through: solar coffee drying areas; biodigesters installed on farms converting waste products to methane gas to power the home for free; utilising grey water from the kitchen and bathroom as irrigation for crops thereby reducing water stress; and using waste coconut husks to retain water at the base of coffee plants.
In this system of farmer innovation, our tools are not the driving the process, but can be used to accelerate it. We hope that this in turn will promote innovation through greater understanding.