When COVID-19 reached Brazil ahead of the coffee harvest season, the first thoughts of smallholder Ivone Corsi da Silva were of how she could keep supporting her family, including her pregnant daughter and several other children with pre-existing health problems, without putting them at risk.
Ivone is one of over 5,000 beneficiaries of hygiene items and health education materials provided as part of a COVID-19 intervention campaign in the coffee growing regions of Brazil by Olam Coffee, Folgers (part of The J.M. Smucker Company) and Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee.
Commenting on the support she received: “The kits came at the right time for us. I have already distributed the masks and sanitisers to everyone in my family and we are all using them.”
300 relief kits – containing a total of 8,850 masks, 1,385 hand sanitisers and 194 litres of environmental disinfectants – were distributed to farmer households across six Arabica and Conilon producing regions throughout the harvest season in June and July. Information and materials on COVID-19 symptoms and prevention were also disseminated through Olam’s farmer network via WhatsApp, to support community sensitisation efforts.
Another producer to receive a kit, João Carlos Ferreira, from the Chapada Diamantina region added: “The kits will help protect our employees and ourselves against the virus, so we can move the harvest forward.”
Brazil is the world’s largest supplier of green coffee and is expected to produce 70 million bags of coffee for the crop year 2020-21, many from the hands of smallholders.
Vivek Verma, Managing Director and CEO, Olam Coffee added:
“COVID-19 poses severe additional risks for smallholders and their families; they are specifically vulnerable in this situation not least from having been harmed by the low prices in recent years. We are extremely grateful for the generous donations from Folgers and Mother Parkers which are strengthening our efforts to protect coffee communities and ensure farmers can continue harvesting and earning.”
Beyond Brazil, Olam Coffee continues to work with its partners across Latin America, Asia and Africa, committing significant resources, both in-kind and financial across its sourcing origins to support the global fight against COVID-19.