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hand-picking cherries on arrival at the washing station
removing floating cherries

Farmers bring bags of cherries picked that day to the washing stations. The cherries are inspected and hand-sorted to remove unripe, rotten, insect-eaten cherries and foreign bodies. They are then put into a tank of water and floating cherries are removed. Defective cherries are given back to the farmer, who sometimes borrows part of the patio to dry the cherries to sell on the local market as café pilé. The remaining (good) cherries are weighed, recorded and de-pulped. The collection of cherries is supervised by the Collection Manager, or Receveur.

The processing must start as soon as the coffee cherries are harvested to prevent the pulp from fermenting. All RECOCARNO exported coffee is processed using the wet method which better preserves the intrinsic qualities of the beans but means that the pulp must be removed from the beans within 24 hours of harvesting.

The purchase price for accepted coffee cherries varies between $US 0.36 and $US 0.50 per lb; at the end of the season, farmer members receive a second payment (or bonus). As a result, farmers' incomes are increasing. and their living standards are improving.

The volatile prices paid for green coffee at the international trading exchanges could thwart the efforts of the growers were it not for the Fairtrade pricing structure which guarantees a minimum price. [Fairtrade producers are guaranteed a minimum price of $1.26 per pound FOB for their coffee - $1.41/pound if the coffee is certified organic - and if world prices rise above these floor prices then they are paid a $0.05 per pound premium above the market price.

The next state of processing is de-pulping.