Fair Trade

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

All Is Not Fair

21st August 2008

As you may know, this magazine is a supporter of the concept of fairly-traded coffee, but it’s interesting to see how the Fairtrade organization (run under the auspices of Oxfam aid organization) has become proprietary about the use of the ‘fair trade’ terminology.

Several newspapers have reported a recent spat between McDonalds, which uses Rainbow Alliance coffee [www.rainforest-alliance.org], and the Fairtrade Organization. It centres around the use of the word ‘fair’. The problem is that McDonalds have recently been running TV commercials showing South American coffee farmers, and using the words ‘a fair deal for workers’ in their script.

Click here to go directly to this topic on the Crema Forum to share your opinion and read what others have had to say, or/ (more…)

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Ugandan coffee may disappear in 30 years – Oxfam

A story just in from Reuters Kampala, written by Frank Nyakairu, reports that changing weather patterns in Uganda may lead to the extinction of the east African country’s key export, coffee, in coming decades.

The story goes on to explain that Uganda is Africa’s second biggest coffee producer after Ethiopia and has become a major player in robusta coffee production after political unrest in former top grower Ivory Coast slashed output.

“The outlook is bleak. If the average global temperatures rise by two degrees or more, then most of Uganda is likely to cease to be suitable for coffee..this may happen in 40 years or perhaps as little as 30,” the report said. (more…)

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Guatemala – A personal journey of discovery

Coffee CherriesDean Morgan is a Sydney-based coffee roaster and owner of Morgan’s Handcrafted Coffee. In late 2003 he and his wife Michelle travelled to Guatemala, to track the beans that he roasts, to their source and also to witness first-hand the life of a small coffee farmer trying to make ends meet in a coffee-producing country. We asked Dean to relate some of their experiences to us – he talks first about his motivation for going to Guatemala, followed by some of his impressions once he got there…

As a specialty roaster, I felt it was important to put a face to an actual product. Every day I roast coffee from different parts of the world, but I wanted to make some sort of connection between the coffee I buy and the people behind it – to me, that’s the difference between specialty and bulk producers. Another motivation was to find out more about fair trade…I support the concept of fair trade, but wanted to see how it actually works in context. (more…)

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

East Timor – Fair Trade Coffee

BrothersJo Jouin, former director Sydney’s Toby’s Estate Coffee made a visit to East Timor in late 2004 to look at local conditions. Crema magazine asked Jo to tell us of her experiences.

From the moment we stepped off the plane at Dili airport on the northern side of East Timor we were struck by the warmth and friendliness of the Timorese people.

The children were very accepting of us and we quickly learnt some basic Portuguese language skills – ‘Bon dia‘ for hello and ‘obrigado for thank you. Initially most people were very shy but as we took some polaroid photos and showed the magic of developing the photos, the ice was broken and laughter rang out.

The extent of the poverty really became apparent as we moved up to the mountains. We were invited into the traditional thatched home of one influential and important family from the guerilla movement. There were no possessions. Nothing, just the clothes on their back and a mat to sleep on. (more…)

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Fair Trade: a life or death issue

World Vision Ethiopian BoyInternational trade is not something many of us think about on a daily basis but for many people, particularly in developing countries, it can literally be a life or death issue. The vagaries of commodity prices and the historical lows recorded, particularly for coffee in the early nineties, has had disastrous consequences for millions of small farmers. Completely reliant on middlemen to buy their beans, many were forced into crippling debt or lost their land and homes, as market prices dropped below the cost of producing the coffee. (more…)