fairtrade

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ella

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Oct 12, 2007
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jpscoffee said:
Buy it from a coffee farmer. Or from a roaster that does.

Is it that simple? OK, I can by from the farmers but what about other several million people who are consumers of non fair-trade coffee on daily basis and are possibly not even aware of that fact. How is possible to rise awareness around this issue on global level? Coffee industry is one of the most profitable industries however poor countries such as Ethiopia that produces one of best quality coffee doesn’t see much of it!! Can medias such asTV, film or use of any other media help in increasing the consciousness about this problem???
 

jpscoffee

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what about other several million people who are consumers of non fair-trade coffee on daily basis and are possibly not even aware of that fact.
Do you even know what fair trade coffee is? Have you any facts beyond the hype you are repeating?
How is possible to rise awareness around this issue
What issue are you talking about?
Coffee industry is one of the most profitable industries
How do you know this? At what level is it the most profitable? Are you a store owner? Are you a roaster? Are you a coffee broker?
Can medias such asTV, film or use of any other media help in increasing the consciousness about this problem???
What problem?

You seem to want to "save the world", but I think you need to do some research and get facts before you go forth. Read the press release below to shine a different light on "fair trade".

PRESS RELEASE

Fairtrade Coffee Does Little to Help Coffee Farmers in Developing Countries

Contact: Lura Forcum, Mercatus Center, (703) 993-4960 or lforcum@gmu.edu
Study available at www.mercatus.org/fairtradecoffee

Arlington, VA, June 21, 2007­Buying Fairtrade coffee may ease your conscience and line the pockets of coffee retailers, but it does little to improve the lives of coffee farmers and laborers in developing countries. According to a study by Colleen Berndt, published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, coffee marketed as “Fairtrade” fails to provide financial benefit to farmers, while imposing significant costs. In her report, “Is Fairtrade in Coffee Production Fair and Useful: Evidence from Costa Rica and Guatemala and Implications for Policy”, Berndt - who is a lecturer in economics at San Jose State University ­ argues that the program serves as little more than a hedge for coffee farmers.

What is the benefit of being a Fairtrade coffee farmer?
About three cents. In exchange for obtaining certification from the Fairtrade Labeling Organization’s (FLO), coffee farmers in developing countries can sell their coffee at a price that is about US$0.03 higher than the regular coffee market. However, coffee farmers only reap this benefit for about 20% of their coffee crop because that’s all that Fairtrade buyers currently purchase. The rest is sold on the unregulated market at a lower price.

While this isn’t helping coffee farmers much, it’s helping the very poorest participants of the coffee trade even less. Owners of coffee farms have some capital, but the migrant workers who provide most of the labor are far more impoverished. FLO requires that these workers be paid a minimum wage, but actual wages aren’t monitored so migrant workers probably aren’t seeing their fair share.

What are the costs of being a Fairtrade coffee farmer?
In order to sell to Fairtrade buyers, coffee farmers must organize themselves into cooperatives. The members must then follow FLO’s guidelines and pay the organization to monitor their compliance. In addition, the farmers, many of whom are barely literate, are required to keep detailed records about the co-op’s decision-making and distribution of profits in order to maintain certification.

There are other, less direct costs as well. Although FLO says that its goal is to help farmers become “financially secure and self sufficient,” its own requirements work against that goal. For example, co-op farmers are prevented from owning more than 12 acres of land and employing any full-time employees. While this may keep large coffee plantations from profiting from the price floor, it also discourages smaller coffee farmers from expanding their businesses.

How is Fairtrade acting as a hedge?
In developed financial markets, there are various tools to distribute risk. They range from simple crop insurance to more complex forms of risk buying and selling in futures and commodities markets. Coffee farmers lack access to these types of tools, which is what makes a Fairtrade co-op appealing. Fairtrade enables farmers to benefit from the price floor when the market is down, and sell to the unregulated market when prices are higher.

And since the co-op isn’t required to sell any amount of coffee to Fairtrade buyers, the farmers are inclined to sell their poor-quality beans where there is a price floor, and their higher-quality beans on the unregulated market. That’s something to think about the next time you order a venti-Fairtrade-mocha-ccino-frappe from your favorite coffeehouse.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is a research, education, and outreach organization that works with scholars, policy experts, and government officials to connect academic learning and real world practice. The mission of Mercatus is to promote sound interdisciplinary research and application in the humane sciences that integrates theory and practice to produce solutions that sustainably advance a free, prosperous, and civil society.

This reminds me of how Al Gore looks so good on paper, but look at his actions according to this:


Two houses... different stories
An Inconvenient Truth: A Tale of Two Houses

House #1
A 20 room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in a Northern or Midwestern "snow belt" area. It's in the South.


House #2
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university. This house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house is 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on a high prairie in the American Southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat-pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas and it consumes one-quarter electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Surrounding flowers and shrubs native to the area enable the property to blend into the surrounding rural landscape.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE #1 is outside of Nashville , Tennessee ; it is the abode of
the "environmentalist," Al Gore.

HOUSE #2 is on a ranch near Crawford , Texas ; it is the residence the of the President of the United States , George W. Bush.

An "inconvenient truth."
[/quote]
 

Obsidiancoffee

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Amen to that jps, I completely agree. As tough as it sounds you are totally correct. I spent 5 years in Central America working in coffee training and education. Fair Trade is a joke and a half. Especially with the price of coffee these days.

Look at Intellegencia or Counter Culture ella. These guys, and others are doing 'relationship coffee' or 'direct trade'.

The fact of the matter is that Fair Trade is a great idea on paper, but in real life it doesn't work out...just like communism.

As soon as you get Star$ and Dunkin Doughnuts in on something you know the end cannot be good...
 
May I whole heartedly second that Obsidian! We are doing relationship coffee here in Indonesia, have been for a while now. Drop me a line if you'd like to compare notes, I am always super keen to see what others have or are doing in origin countries. Where possible, the future is as I see it direct trade or relationship coffee. In a lot of cases it may be difficult for smaller roasters to accomplish this, but as time goes on, electronic mail and communication makes the world a smaller place, I am sure as heck that these forms of working with smallholders will become more and more the norm. Amen! :grin:
 
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ella

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black gold

Thank you jpscoffee for posting this press release for me.
You are right- I am not an expert for this issue however I did get into this discussion quite honestly and with a hart because I recently saw documentary film called BLACK GOLD about struggle to keep Ethiopian coffee farmer from Western exploitation. It’s quite scandalous story and very powerful film. I would really recommend it to anyone. I saw it in the cinema in the UK but it will be released soon in the UK on DVD but if you did not see it i think it's possible to buy it online as well.

Here is the web site: www.blackgoldmovie.com
 
Hello Jim, I will have to leave the answer to that to the biys and girls on your side of the big pond. For me I moved to Indonesia from New Zealand so could set up a roasting business and work directly with farmers. All-in-all it has taken 10 years and counting, and I amstill probably abut 20% of where I ultimatley want to be. Problem is 5x10 is 50 more ers of work, unless things move expodentially, which I think is a possibility now so much of the hard yards are done. Anyone who is really keen to have a direct reltionship here, feel free to contact me. It would definatley require a visit (which I can absolutley guarantee is safe- despite the real bad press these Islands sometimes get), a trip around a selection of small holders we work with- then you can just get on going working with an area/village who's coffee you like.

Ok, ok, its not quite that simple, but youget the drift. Unfortunatley wehave to exclude people like Topher who roast zillions of kg's of coffee a year, as most groups I deal with produce a maximum of 18MT or a paltry 300 bags (18,000kg). However the smallish volumes absolutley mean that you have a product that is truly unique, combined with forming a direct and exclusive relationship (well...apart from me that is, cause I can not give up dealing with the guys I work with :wink: ).

There are obviously a few ther obstacles- lauguage for instance- however I genuinely do not mnd helping anyone on coffeeforums.com out...as long as you give me a bit of notice to work in with roasting, training, growing area visits.

As for Black Gold the movie...have not seen it. Just finished the book though by Anthony Wild. I thought it was interesting- although there were one or 20 things I would debate with him if I had a chance to...especilly living and working at origin as I do.
 

ElPugDiablo

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Re: black gold

ella said:
Thank you jpscoffee for posting this press release for me.
You are right- I am not an expert for this issue however I did get into this discussion quite honestly and with a hart because I recently saw documentary film called BLACK GOLD about struggle to keep Ethiopian coffee farmer from Western exploitation. It’s quite scandalous story and very powerful film. I would really recommend it to anyone. I saw it in the cinema in the UK but it will be released soon in the UK on DVD but if you did not see it i think it's possible to buy it online as well.

Here is the web site: www.blackgoldmovie.com
Black gold does not give you the whole story. Here is a bit on Ethiopian coffee that they did not talk about. Back in 2005 and 2006, a bunch of roasters bought some awesome Ethiopian beans through eCafe Foundation auction - at pretty high prices. 2005 when very well and we were all happy. So we came back for more in 2006, prices paid were way above market price, I think the average was above $4.00 a pound for greens. In case you don't know, commodity arabica (C Market) at the time was traded at about $1.00 a pound, and TransFair minimum was, and still is $1.21 a pound. (BTW, C Market is now at $1.28, higher than TransFair minimum) Those were great beans, and most money was suppose to go directly to the farmers. This would have been a great way for smaller roasters who cannot fly to different producing countries but want to buy beans directly for quality, for cause or maybe both. So after the auction settled, everyone was happy, that is until we couldn't get the beans out of Ethiopia due to whatever messiness they had over there. Those great tasting beans sat at Ethiopian warehouse for 6 months before they were released. By the time they got over here they were old beans with borderline quality. Although we had the option to decline the beans, most accepted their allotments. So we paid a lot for a bunch of old average beans. Needless to say there's no eCafe auction in 2007. This year I bought some pretty darn good Ethiopian through importers at about $2.00 a pound. It works out great for me, I paid half of the price and none of the headache for better quality beans. Guess who truly lost out? And more importantly who's at fault?

By the way this years Rwanda is in a similar situation. High quality coffee paid for at high prices came in on time but damaged.
 
EPD, why do you think it is that god, when doing his creation thing, put coffee, oil and gas in places which were geographically inaccessible, politically corrupt and rife with disease and pestilence? Maybe he drank tea methinks :wink: Reading the Ethiopia story it could well be nearly any other producing country, with few exceptions! Believe me...red tape, bribery, truck hijackings, containers illegally impounded...it all happens! Actually if the stories at origin came attached to the containers, you would have enough tales to dine off for the rest of your life.
 

ElPugDiablo

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Alun_evans said:
EPD, why do you think it is that god, when doing his creation thing, put coffee, oil and gas in places which were geographically inaccessible, politically corrupt and rife with disease and pestilence? Maybe he drank tea methinks :wink: Reading the Ethiopia story it could well be nearly any other producing country, with few exceptions! Believe me...red tape, bribery, truck hijackings, containers illegally impounded...it all happens! Actually if the stories at origin came attached to the containers, you would have enough tales to dine off for the rest of your life.
Hahaha, don't even get me started on fake teas in China.
 

alanj11

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Sep 10, 2007
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What is the thinking on Roaster Co-ops such as Coffee Cooperative founded by Bill Harris of Cafe Campesino? Are there others interested in banding together to leverage resources to buy direct from grower cooperatives and single estate growers?
 

NW JAVA

New member
Ella, I know you meant to get assistance, and well unfortunately the question you asked is a VERY strongly polarized issue. You can go to transfair (transfairusa.org ) I can't believe that you didn't think about goggling " tranfair coffe. but this is what you got for not doing so. Anyway please feel free to ask questions here or even post about that killer transfair coffee you found. BTW I roast too, and I Have a Environmental Science degree----oooohh i know. and I have to consider human issues in my business. I haven't seen the movie but I understand the power of a slanted propaganda " documentary" In the eyes of the producer is it about the people or their success as a producer? My goal is to roast the finest coffee and treat others: including the harvest folks, with total respect. Ellla, thatks for posting, and please don't be put off.


Ciao Bella,
Troy
 

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