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.
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.