To ensure the livelihood of coffee and its community, the Damarli Estate prioritises sustainability throughout its coffee supply chain.
The Triple-Bottom Line
When applying the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit) to the management of a coffee farm systemic thinking must be applied. From the profit perspective, a coffee farm’s primary source of profit comes from the sale of coffee, however many other supplemental sources of income can hedge against a poor crop and provide additional benefits to the farm. Some examples we engage in are intercropping, agroforestry and tourism. In addition to providing alternate sources of income, each example provides different benefits including nitrogen fixation, protection against soil erosion, increased biodiversity, additional sources for food, and exchanges of knowledge and ideas.
We operate a shade grown coffee farm. This differs from high yielding farms, where the coffee is grown in full sun. Naturally coffee really likes sunlight, however, without high injection of fertilizer, the coffee tends to do poorly, therefore full sun grown coffee farms rely heavily on chemical fertilizers. These high yielding farms can be very profitable but are based on monoculture, which provides little other benefits for the local environment. On the other hand shade-grown coffee provides many different benefits. Some of the benefits we have found include the reservation of native species, more carbon absorption, more habitat for local species, higher OM content, lower soil temperatures, less transpiration and improvement in the cup profile of the coffee.
Here at Damarli Estate we consider it our duty to our workers and ourselves to create an environment where we create win-win situations and use sustainable systems. The social aspect of the triple bottom line takes into account the cost of living, income, health and purpose. We take all of these aspects very seriously. Our workers are paid above minimum wage, they are in the Panamanian social security system, which in addition to having a retirement fund also covers all medical costs if they get hurt or sick on the job. Their housing is provided at no cost to the workers who live on the farm, which were updated in January 2015 and have undergone several improvements since then. In addition they have access to basic electricity, which is provided by a small solar system that charges up a battery bank during the day. Additionally a portion of the harvest from cover crops and other intercropping is given to workers. At the end of the season, we make sure that they get a taste of the final product they have worked all year to produce.