The salvation of a territory and the defense of its population can also take place thanks to a cup of coffee. TO Cuba the tradition of coffee is very ancient and intertwined with its political vicissitudes. Still told today along its archaeological landscape of the first plantations, in the heart of the Sierra Maestra, a World Heritage Site. Once a great exporter of legendary blends, the crops have been gradually abandoned since the 1960s. Today however, through programs linked to sustainable agriculture, the plantations are being reborn and with them the work of the women and young people of the Sierra Maestra. To help them in this process of sustainable development and emancipation is the Lavazza Foundation who restored the plantations and created the blend La Reserva de ¡Tierra! Cuba.
The plantations between Santiago and Gramna
A project carried out in collaboration with the non-governmental organization Oxfam and the local authorities who are convinced that the protection of the territory affected by the effects of climate change is also possible thanks to the recovery of agricultural development
"Why Cuba? Because it is a unique place in the world, a very particular ecosystem without high altitude areas. Thanks to its biodiversity, the quality of its plantations and the skills of its farmers. In 2018, our company came into contact with some representatives of local institutions intent on relaunching a sector that, despite its noble tradition, seemed destined to be forgotten. All that was needed was to create a project to relaunch this production, one of the oldest and of the highest quality in the world - explained Giuseppe Lavazza, president of the Group - With this initiative we wanted to restart production on the island, which disappeared for many years but has remained utopian and legendary for those who had known it like us who have been in the world of coffee for over 125 years.
From the nursery we went to the plantation, from the plantation we went to production, then to post-production, then to the intermediate stages and commercial assets". The result of the work of 170 farmers involved in the project is a new blend that the Piedmontese company wanted to dedicate to the island. The Reserva de ¡Tierra! it comes from plantations between the provinces of Santiago and Granma.
The first phase of the project started in 2018, with the creation of 10 coffee production centers in poorly productive areas in the east of the island, to which the Piedmontese company supplied six million seedlings belonging to high quality varieties. In addition to this, the initiative provides for the creation of 34 schools to improve the skills of 2,900 farmers and 500 technicians employed on the plantations.
The blend traceable with the blockchain
"An economic association was born from this development program, a Cuban body that supports the process of strengthening the production chain - explained Giuseppe Lavazza again - but there is another aspect we are very keen on: the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the coffee-producing communities. A social sustainability that passes above all through the promotion of the role of young people and women in agriculture".
The safeguarding of this extraordinary territory has not only concerned the coffee plantations, but also the forests, the sharing of good agricultural practices. And among these practices there is the use of technology: the novelty of Cuban coffee is its own blockchain traceability "We have placed sensors in the plantations that collect data and send it, processed, to farmer's cell phones - explained Lavazza - this type of blockchain technology is a reality that is gaining ground in the world of coffee. Having a fully traced process allows you to have so much data to understand what can be used to improve the production process". The road to environmental justice also passes through a cup of coffee. In Cuba.