Sustainable Practices at Hacienda la Esmeralda – People First
The Panama Palmyra coffee used by Coffee Reserve originates at Hacienda la Esmeralda, growing on the slopes of the Baru volcano. This traditional Boquete coffee makes up approximately 70% of Hacienda la Esmeralda’s crop, as well as sustaining close to 1,000 Ngobe-Bugle nomad pickers during the harvest season from November through February each year.
Hacienda la Esmeralda is not only dedicated to sustainable farming techniques, but to sustaining the health and well being of the harvest workers. Hacienda la Esmeralda has committed to providing daycare for workers’ children, along with a focus on nutrition and medical care. Hacienda la Esmeralda provides food designed to boost nutrition daily, as well as weekly visits from a physician, dentist and mobile pharmacy. Additionally, they provide all adults in the family with packages of rice and beans, or rice and sardines.
Hacienda la Esmeralda also developed a program in which they supply lunch and all didactic materials to two local elementary schools, also entitling every child associated with the farm to a scholarship to not only elementary and secondary school, but to the University of Panama as well.
The workers are not forgotten as they return “home” after the harvest season is over. Hacienda la Esmeralda visits the mountains in June or July when the workers will have little or no money left and are awaiting the harvest of the few crops they may have planted. Depending on the coffee sales for the year, an additional bonus of 10 to 20 percent of the earnings is given to the workers to help sustain them until their own crops come in.
Coffee Reserve is committed to working with coffee producers like Hacienda la Esmeralda who are working not only to sustain the growing conditions for the coffee crop, but to improve the lives and health of workers and their families.