"For me, everything was incredible. So many opportunities. The learning was gold. In GHG inventories, in marketing...I hadn't received a course as good as this marketing course for YEARS. But also, sharing with the other people in the group, finding out about other realities, other conditions. Each with their good things and their difficulties and their ways of solving problems. Very nice!"
I, with my little bit, will help!
Cecilia Genis, whose background is in hotel and restaurant management with experience in education, became involved in the world of coffee through her mother, Mrs. Marigold Murray, some 20 years ago. Since then, she has not changed her rubber boots or the coffee activity for anything else!
It was her great-grandfather, Mr. Alex Murray, who established the coffee farm, now Zalmari's headquarters. An English immigrant who arrived in the country via Jamaica, Murray began earning a living working for the businessman who developed the railroad, Minor Keith. As a visionary man, as soon as he had the economic capacity, he bought land near the railway lines to facilitate the transportation of what he produced on his farms, among them the coffee farm in Cachí.
For Genis, who has always been concerned about making things as environmentally friendly as possible, adding Zalmari to the Coffee NSP was a natural step.
-For me, everything was incredible. So many opportunities. The learning was gold. In GHG inventories, in marketing...I hadn't received a course as good as this marketing course for YEARS. But also, sharing with the other people in the group, finding out about other realities, other conditions. Each with their good things and their difficulties and their ways of solving problems. Very nice!
Continuity requires support and motivation
In listing concrete results, Genis highlights the learning obtained on how to carry out emission inventories and manage them within Excel spreadsheets with preloaded formulas provided by the technical staff.
Despite her enthusiasm for aligning her farm with environmental objectives, Genis considers that it is very important to have constant support, follow-up and motivation, whether from ICAFE or external projects. On a day-to-day basis, among the many hardships of coffee farming, carrying out the actions promoted by the Coffee NAMA can quickly become a low priority, especially in small and micro-enterprises that do not necessarily have dedicated personnel to provide the continuity required to have a real impact.
Accompaniment is important. Individualized accompaniment. Without it, I think there is a great risk that many people who find it difficult to use the computer or who do not have the time to do so will stop doing it, she reflects.
The Coffee NAMA in target markets: a lot of work to be done…
Another aspect that Genis valued very positively was marketing. She was part of the group that traveled to Germany on a marketing tour and considers the immersive experience to have been invaluable, providing a lot of growth.
However, she says that she was surprised by the little knowledge that roasters had of the NAMAs, a detail that clearly demonstrated that there must be a lot of hard work placed in education and positioning in the target markets. It is from there [the market] that we must ensure that coffee is a sustainable activity and that here we can really live for and from coffee.
It is, ultimately, a question of narrative and in this, Genis explains the function of the hummingbird that is part of the 'Costa Rica Coffee NAMA´ seal: legend has it that once, in a forest fire, the hummingbird carried water in its small beak to help extinguish the fire. When other large animals made fun of the insignificance of its contribution, the hummingbird, without being discouraged, answered: -I, with my little bit, will help. It is a metaphor for the contribution that a small country like Costa Rica can make to a global problem that should be everyone's concern, no matter how small they are.
-I would like people to know more. The productive sector. To have them know more about the importance of being carbon neutral, but also that they know how to do it. And that people, the public, know and value it. That we as Costa Ricans may feel proud.