Green Coffee Beans and Fair Trade Issues

WDJackson

New member
Aug 19, 2007
2
0
Hello, I''ve started researching about home coffee bean roasting and the potential this has for allowing consumers to purchase beans directly from coffee farmers and pay them a truly sustainable wage.

Some articles I''ve read and information disclosed in the documentary \"Black Gold\" are uncovering the fact that many coffee farmers are not receiving the fair trade wage of around $1.51 touted by the Fair Trade organization. There are coffee brokers, co-op directors and other players in the supply chain that take a portion of the money making it difficult still for many farmers to earn a sustainable living.

What is your opinion on this issue? Have you heard similar accounts? Do you know of any green coffee bean companies who are sourcing directly from farmers and guarantee them a fair wage?
 

Davec

New member
Oct 18, 2006
314
0
Old England (UK)
WDJackson said:
What is your opinion on this issue? Have you heard similar accounts? Do you know of any green coffee bean companies who are sourcing directly from farmers and guarantee them a fair wage?

I think the Cup of Excellence programme, might be what you are looking for, although the amounts available are relatively small. SAs for sourcing directly, I don't know too much, except for the fact that it's probably quite difficult, unless you are large, or have very well established links.
 
I am based at origin and we actually try and pay the communities we deal with the same price they would receive if selling directly to a roaster in the USA or Europe- so above recommended fiar-trade returns. The challenges though mean that this is pretty small scale at present- this year we are actually struggling just to meet our own green requirements. We call it relationship coffee- developing a direct social and economic interface with the growing communities we work with.

The "Cup of Excellence" programme the SCAA works with in the Americas is excllent- and because of the proximity to the US market this works very well. The problem is origins are all different and some hve more complex issues to deal with than others.

As mentioned the challenges here are really quite daunting. We have a range of problems we are trying to overcome- some on a daily basis. These include- stiff and sometimes quite unreasonable resistance from the broker(age) chains that exist- some pay just $0.30/kg for parchment so are not keen to see us stepping in!, transport issues, tech-transfer issues (training, replacing hulling machines, drying tumblers etc, language issues (not everyione speaks Indonesian!), micro-financing issues, logistics, consistancy and quality issues . . . .etc etc

I guess my point is while a number of brokers in the US are now very keen to promote any type of relationship/fair-trade/direct trade coffee- it is actually very difficult to reach the farmers. I think that while I often see the current fair-trade system as cumbersome, it is still probably the best way of bridging the gap to origin communities.
 
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