In the food industry, we rely on long-term supply of quality agricultural raw materials. With a modern food supply chain that is vast and complicated, SAI platform founders knew it would require the combined efforts of all the major organisations to have a truly positive effect. We designed SAI to share knowledge and actively communicate best practices. We seek to involve ALL partners along the food chain. And we simultaneously take into account environmental, economic and social aspects of agricultural sustainability.
With this in mind, we set up a SAI project in Aldea Ojercaibal, a village of around 300 families situated about 112 kilometres west of Guatemala City. We were struck by the fact that although local farmer expertise is considerable and the coffee produced is of a consistently high quality, the town is still considered quite poor. Our SAI team went in and identified four key areas where we could help the people of the village to improve their lives: education, water supply, efficient coffee cultivation practices and public health.
Aldea Ojercaibal is a small village, but it has taught us a lot. Now we know the radical difference we can make with incremental changes, and we know how to help others apply them. These learnings will not only continue to help us improve life with the help of responsible agriculture in this part of Guatemala, but also the rest of the world.
To improve education for the children of the village, we helped construct two extra classrooms. We distributed water filters and helped increase drinking water supply by 200%, allowing villagers to have running water 24 hours a day. To improve efficiency of coffee cultivation, we hired a full-time agronomist to demonstrate more responsible practices and improved techniques on 61 volunteer farms.
But perhaps the biggest breakthrough came in the public health sector. Villagers had been cooking on open fires, which is fuel-inefficient, produces high-levels of carbon monoxide in the home, and can cause serious burns, especially among children. The SAI team was able to bring in the ONIL stove, a simple, inexpensive solution that requires about 60% less wood. 250 stoves are now being used in the village, making a major difference to the lives of everyone there.