FOUR GROWERS' STORIES
in 2007, Edio Anacleto Miranda won illy’s annual prize for producing Brazil’s highest quality Arabica. He reinvested nearly every penny of the $30,000 (USD) prize in his Araponga plantation. "I bought a mechanical dryer, gave something to my wife for the house, and set aside some money for my children’s studies. I completed only the third grade," said Edio, who created a lake using spring water, and reuses waste created during processing as a natural fertilizer.
The Dutra brothers, Ednilson and Walter, have a fazenda (farm) here in Minas Gerais, among Brazil’s highest-quality Arabica growing regions. Blessed with a never-ending hunger for knowledge, both studied agronomy at the University of Vicosa and attended illy’s University of Coffee program at the University of Sao Paolo. They are key members of the Coffee Association of Minas Gerais. Walter has been acquiring land that in a few years’ time will house his ranch. "The more we produce, the more dedicated we become to quality," he says. "The demand for high quality Arabica grows each year by 10 percent."
Sebastião Afonso da Silva, who tends to a plantation in this remote part of Brazil with 14 brothers and their families, bravely abandoned their longtime cultivation of rice and bananas, which had turned unprofitable. Just two years after choosing to pursue Arabica coffee, he took home illy’s annual prize for his country’s highest-quality coffee
Here in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, the family Legesse became a partner of illy’s the early 1990s, sharing work to support small-scale local farmers. Joint efforts have built a critical road, raised power lines to provide electricity where there had been none, and channeled water to more than 60,000 people. Construction of schools, health clinics, radio and TV stations and telephone facilities are among other successful initiatives.