For several years, Arvid Nordquist has been involved in the Nicaraguan coffee farm La Cumplida and we purchase approximately 90% of their harvest. By virtue of a long-term agreement, we have been able to make far-reaching investments in the farm, with the objective of improving the social conditions of the employees and their families. Because the coffee is UTZ Certified, we pay an extra premium for the coffee and, by paying this higher price, we contribute to reinvesting in schools, housing, healthcare and to providing better working environments for the employees.
The owners of La Cumplida place a high priority on ensuring that their employees receive fair working conditions and see to it that the farm shall have only the smallest-possible negative impact on the environment. The entire farm is operated in an environmentally-friendly way and is self-sufficient in electricity. They have their own water purification system and a comprehensive approach to reforestation, as well as a nursery where they collaborate with researchers in experimenting with hybrids. During the past few years, 90 houses have been built just outside the farm. In Swedish terms, these houses might seem very simple but, for the locals, they represent a huge improvement. Previously, they were living in rickety shacks which wouldn't protect them from the rain. Today, they have stable homes made of concrete, with approximately two rooms and electricity, and an outside kitchen with a stove. The farm-workers at La Cumplida receive three meals a day and work under conditions that are approved by UTZ Certified. The workers on the farm also have access to free healthcare.
There is also a school close to the farm. This provides education for the children in the area during the summer, when other schools are closed. The children are taught by qualified teachers, and there is also time set aside for sports and games. Football is one of the favourite activities. When Arvid Nordquist last visited the farm, we took with us a whole load of supplies for the school, such as pens and pads, so that the teachers could have the resources necessary for them to be able to give the children a brighter future. The farm also runs a further six schools in the surrounding area in the Matagalpa district.
The majority of people on the farms have access to mobile phones, TV or other modern forms of communication. This makes it possible for the workers at La Cumplida to tell others about their prosperity and of how it is possible to have such good working conditions. Workers want to work on farms which offer good working conditions and this, in turn, exerts pressure on other farm owners to increase their standards, so that people will still want to work for them. The farm's good reputation spreads like ripples on a pond and farms throughout the whole country are forced to re-evaluate their own working conditions. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a positive spiral which will affect the entire country and spread beyond the national borders.
La Cumplida is Utz Certified and certified by the Rainforest Alliance.
"We provide access to accommodation, medical care, school, the internet and TV for our employees and their families." - Clemente Poncon, one of the owners of La Cumplida.
"Arvid Nordquist is involved in the reinvestment in schools, accommodation and healthcare, and in providing a better working environment for the employees."