About Daterra Coffee
Daterra Coffee is formed by a great team of people in love with coffee.
Luís Norberto Pascoal is the founder and president of Daterra Coffee, an entrepreneur who runs several businesses in Brazil and who found in coffee the perfect combination between producing outstanding quality and developing a truly sustainable product.
Daterra Coffee has more than 35 years of experience and a team of more than 400 people, who dedicate their time and talent to produce coffees that stand out not only for their flavor, but also for the values and principles that they carry within them.
We have been working with Daterra for years, sharing the same passion and the same values for coffee, so we would like to tell you a little more about the production of their coffee and their philosophy through some questions that Gabriel Agrelli, responsible for Market Development and Quality at Daterra, has helped us to answer.
Why are you involved in coffee growing?
Daterra was born as a regenerative agriculture project. An agricultural business model that could really balance the equation of giving back to the planet and the environment, developing people and the community at the same time, while being an economically viable activity.
We tried many different products in our early años researching agricultural businesses. We produced pine trees, cattle, various fruits, milk… Finally we tried coffee and it was then that we found the ideal product to pursue this dream project.
Coffee is a perennial plant and for its correct cultivation, taking care of the surrounding environment is the key to success. When we started with the project, specialty coffee was something very new, but it was just starting to be talked about in the market, so we saw the idea of producing specialty coffee as a way to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the market. produce a quality product that is worth more than just producing a commodity, allowing us to be less dependent on market volatility.
The more we study and research coffee, the more we fall in love with it. We stopped with the production of all the other agricultural products, fruits, cattle, etc. and we continued making coffee, so that we could be specialists in that.
Well, the rest of the story speaks for itself.
What does sustainability mean to you?
This is a really complex question, there are many things that together will make a sustainable coffee production.
Climate change and the bad practices that are being implemented in agriculture leave us with a short runway if no action is taken.
By now, we expect that most companies in the coffee industry have understood and implemented sustainable practices along the entire chain. Still, simply being sustainable is no longer enough to address the challenges that lie ahead in our near future.
At Daterra, we chose to take the next step: We chose to be Bio-Smart.
BIO means everything that is alive (animals, employees, community, forests, microorganisms, etc.) and everything related to nature so that they can live a healthy and balanced life: water courses, atmosphere, soil, etc.
SMART: It is to study, develop and apply new creative solutions to do things better than before.
How to become Bio-Smart? How can you take something from the earth without damaging it? It’s simple, we borrow it and then, we give it back improved!
Bio-smart agriculture means redefining success in business and agriculture by using the same energy devoted to making them profitable also to solve social and environmental problems.
Here are some of the changes and points we take into account to become Bio-Smart:
It’s not just about preserving forests, it’s about regenerating Biomes: Having regeneration targets, preserving more than the legal requirements, wildlife corridors, reforestation of native species.
It’s not just about saving water, it’s about using water wisely: Conscious irrigation, water recycling and reuse, rainwater storage, wastewater treatment, protection of springs and watercourses.
It is not only about avoiding banned chemicals, it is about making a balanced use that respects the “Bio” that respects life: plant barriers, biological pest control, integrated pest management, natural weed management, organic fertilizer.
It is not only about managing the needs of the soil but also about regenerating and improving it. Therefore, we chose to delve into soil microbiology and study natural and intelligent ways to increase soil biodiversity and its activity, applied to coffee production. At Daterra, we chose to do so because our most powerful tool to combat climate change and the many environmental challenges we face is right under our feet: the soil. A healthy, lively soil can retain water, prevent plant diseases, recycle nutrients, help fix nitrogen and can sequester carbon.
Bio-Smart agriculture is not only about avoiding carbon emissions but also about cultivating carbon, understanding that the problem can also be the solution, it is just a matter of balance. Carbon is the building block of life and the way we grow our food. We can find it both in the atmosphere and in the soil and these are the small changes we can make: not tilling the soil, adding organic matter, planting trees, cover crops and intercropping. Agriculture is responsible for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the energy sector -energy generation and transportation. Gases produced by animals in livestock and released by chemical fertilizers in agriculture are the main sources of these emissions. As far as coffee is concerned, research indicates that the land suitable for coffee production will be reduced by half by 2050, due to climate change.
True sustainability, however, is based on the principle of understanding that although we are part of the problem, as humanity, we can also be part of the solution. Agriculture can be one of the most powerful allies in the process of cooling the planet, and that includes coffee cultivation.
What do you think the future will be like for coffee farms?
We believe and hope, that in the future, farmers will have more and more knowledge about coffee production and farm management. This will help them to better manage their business, to be able to better price their coffee and to replicate desirable quality results more consistently, so that they can can truly assume a leading role in the coffee industry and also in their own lives.
We believe that more and more technology will be available in the field and this will allow more accurate decisions to be made, which will enable farmers to be more efficient in correcting crop problems.
Drones, sensors and different equipment will be able to provide just-in-time information, precision agriculture will be a reality and that will allow lower production costs, better control of pests, diseases… which will reduce the use of chemicals and finally, improve quality.
We believe that, unfortunately, climate change will be a major challenge. That will require farmers to invest in genetic varieties of coffee that are more resistant to high temperatures, drought, etc.
Research institutes will have to concentrate on developing these varieties without sacrificing quality. This is already happening right now and we don’t see it receding anytime soon.
We believe that there will be less and less labor available in the field. People will prioritize working in less manual or rough jobs; working in coffee farms is not easy. Mechanization and technology will be increasingly vital for the continuity of coffee production.
Thanks to all the Daterra Coffee team for always collaborating with us!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mare Terra Coffee