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Thread: Cup of coffee that could save a life - Fairtrade

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Cup of coffee that could save a life - Fairtrade

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Mirror.co.uk
    Mar 23 2005
    CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE Mar 23 2005

    RWANDAS WAR SURVIVORS REAP THE REWARDS OF FAIRTRADE

    From Ros Wynne-Jones In Nyamikamba

    *
    F AUSTIN Ngendererwa picks his way through the plants of his small hillside coffee farm, showing us the glistening rows of green coffee cherries ripening in the early morning sun.

    "Its a good crop," he says, as he shakes his head sadly. "But its worthless.

    "My father used to get 20 pence a kilogram for our coffee," he explains. "Now we get around three pence."

    With world coffee prices in freefall and drought threatening his modest crops survival, Faustin - who lives in Nyamikamba, the village adopted by Daily Mirror readers - is in despair.

    "My father is sick but there is no money to take him to hospital. I cant even send my children to school," says Faustin, 38. "We dont break even, but coffee is all we know."

    In stark contrast, just 100 miles south of Nyamikamba, coffee farmers in the Maraba region, high in the mountains, are enjoying profits of 10 pence a kilogram and bumper yields from their crops.

    "Ive been able to double the number of trees I have," explains Jemma Uwera, 52. "And I am able to make a living for my children and grandchildren. Coffee is saving our lives."

    This is the difference that Fairtrade makes. In a UK supermarket, it may seem like an abstract concept. To people in Rwanda it can mean the difference between education and not going to school, between medicine and suffering, between life and death. "Coffee saved me and my familys life," says 27-year-old Gemima Mukashyaka, a survivor of the 1994 genocide who lives in Maraba.

    "Thanks to my coffee trees I get money and buy food, clothes, healthcare and medicines. I dont know where I would be without coffee."

    Gemima is in the Abahuzamugambi Bakawa cooperative, a group of smallholders whose coffee has been backed by Comic Relief and is bought at fair prices by UK company Union Coffee Roasters.

    Gemimas story, like those of so many Rwandans, seems beyond the limits of human endurance.

    The daughter of a modestly successful Tutsi coffee farmer in the Maraba area, she was staying with her Hutu godmother when the genocide began a decade ago.

    "My godmother betrayed me and revealed that I was Tutsi," Gemima says. "So the Interahamwe militia came to the house to take me for killing."

    Her life was saved by a neighbour who bought her from the soldiers as his "wife". She was 16 years old and terrified.

    "I did not love him and nor did I want him," Gemima says. "I was only 16. I was obliged to stay with him. Otherwise, I would have been killed."

    She was allowed to live but the Interahamwe soldiers still came each day to torment, rape and torture her.

    "They would violate me, threaten to kill me," Gemima says. "I dug my own grave three times but my husband always gave them money to save my life. I waited for my death every day."

    After the genocide, Gemima escaped and went home to find her mother, father and six of her brothers and sisters had been tortured and killed.

    "Only my two younger sisters, ages 8 and 12, were still living," she says. The three girls fled to a refugee camp, where Gemima discovered her rape ordeal had left her pregnant. After the war the sisters returned to their parents ruined coffee farm. "We wanted to renovate the plantation - it was our only heritage," Gemima says.

    In 1999 the Maraba Coffee Growers Association was founded. Being part of a cooperative not only supported Gemima as a farmer, but as an orphan of the genocide - bringing her into contact with other orphans and widows. A local charity taught the farmers better growing techniques, and supplied tools and expertise. Then Comic Relief began supporting the project as a sustainable route out of poverty.

    The cooperative continues to heal the fractured community left behind by the genocide, and Tutsis and Hutus work together in the fields as Rwandans.

    Women like Gemima work alongside women such as Jemma Uwera. Like Gemima she works her farm alone, not because her family were massacred but because her husband is held in prison as an alleged perpetrator of the genocide. "In some ways I am also a widow," Jemma says. "I hope the Gacaca courts will find my husband innocent, but I have no way of knowing."

    By 2002 Jemma and Gemimas cooperative had 700 members and was profitable enough to build its own coffee washing station so farmers could sell the beans for a higher price.

    Then UK firm Union Coffee Roasters agreed to buy enough coffee annually to guarantee the farmers a decent income.

    "Marabas Arabica Bourbon has an incredibly deep flavour," says UCRs Dominic Lowdell. "Its sparkling citrus complemented by deep, sweet chocolate.

    "Developing strong, personal bonds with producers enhances the quality of the coffee we buy. Fairtrade works because it means better coffee for the consumer and a better deal for the producer."

    Gemimas coffee is now on sale in the UK in some Sainsburys stores and at Cuppa-cino outlets in London. Her face smiles proudly from the packets of Maraba Bourbon on the shelves.

    In contrast, farmers such as Faustin in Nyamikamba are barely` making a living from coffee, and face having to cut down the trees that have passed through their families for generations.

    Despite coffees popularity and the high prices people will pay for it on the high street, the world coffee market is in freefall. Coffee is worth less today in real terms than it was 100 years ago.

    Rwandan coffee was recently voted second in the world for flavour by an international committee. But, without Fairtrade, farmers are at the mercy of a market stacked against them by powerful companies making a killing.

    "Coffee is popular, but no one will pay a good price for our beans," Faustin says.

    His 78-year-old father, John, comes to the door of his mud-walled hut on two sticks, blinking in the sunlight.

    "I have farmed coffee all my life," he says. "But now there is no life from coffee." His frail body is wracked by coughs, and he shakes his head and disappears back inside.

    More than 4,000 miles away on a station platform at Clapham Junction in South London, commuters stand in the March sunshine sipping coffee from the Cuppa-cino kiosk, made from Gemimas coffee beans.

    "Whats Fairtrade?" asks Hailey Bradfield, a 25-year-old nanny. "Oh, so the people who grow coffee get a fair price? Sounds good, but where do you buy it?"

    "Its nice coffee," says Catriona Arbuckle, a 28-year-old investment consultant. "But, no, I hadnt thought where it had come from."

    We show her Gemimas picture on the coffee packet and tell her story, and how weve followed her coffee beans all the way from Rwanda.

    "Thats incredible," says Catriona. "Ill look out for her coffee now. Fairtrade can really change peoples lives."

    Peter Masters, the owner of Cuppa-cino, stands on the platform, a cup of Gemimas coffee in his hand.

    "All this time weve been selling the Maraba Bourbon coffee Ive never known her story," he says. "Its humbling to think the coffee were selling is actually changing and saving lives."

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/tm_objectid=15324669&method=full&siteid=50143&head line=cup-of-coffee-that-could-save-a-life-name_page.html

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    This is a heavy article but I think the Fairtrade coffee concept is a good one and should be discussed.

    The sarcastic might say “the only difference is that I have to pay $1 more” or “it’s a marketing strategy” but according to Fairtrade the above story is a reasonably typical example of the difference that US$0.50c per kilogram can make.

    I plan on getting a couple of Fairtrade coffee’s in the future to see what the take-up is. The additional levy of US$0.50c per kilogram seems to equate to AU$1.00 (not sure why) which makes a small impact on our pockets but a big one on the farmers.

    Opinions?

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    Not sure whether its simply rumour and innuendo, but last time I heard of pricing, average green buy price at $1.21US/lb and fair trade at $1.25US/lb....and yet we see dazzledollars inc. and similar selling it for $50/kilo.....

    Im yet to be convinced that this is truely fair....I really hope I just received bad information.....

    C

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeman link=1111570839/0#1 date=1111626946
    This is a heavy article but I think the Fairtrade coffee concept is a good one and should be discussed.

    The sarcastic might say “the only difference is that I have to pay $1 more” or “it’s a marketing strategy” but according to Fairtrade the above story is a reasonably typical example of the difference that US$0.50c per kilogram can make.

    I plan on getting a couple of Fairtrade coffee’s in the future to see what the take-up is. *The additional levy of US$0.50c per kilogram seems to equate to AU$1.00 (not sure why) which makes a small impact on our pockets but a big one on the farmers.

    Opinions?
    Andy,

    I am all in favour of trying some fair trade (and supporting the underlying principle) but I thought the issue was being allowed to buy it. I thought people like HAB could only sell the green beans to a registered fair trade roaster.
    Hope Im wrong.

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    You could be right Chris, it appears from what I can find that the Fairtrade price was set when coffee was US$0.65 a pound and the US$1.21 was a "fair price". There is also the additional AU$0.15. I hope these are adjusted to suit.

    The concept of me paying $2 extra on 5kg of coffee seems like a great way to make a difference to the farmer (as long as it gets there!)

    How much do farmers earn from certified Fairtrade coffee?
    A minimum price of $3.80AU per kilo ($US1.21 per pound) is paid for the coffee almost double than the current world market rate. Also certified Fairtrade coffee producer co-operatives recieve an additional premium of 15 ¢ AU a kilo, is paid for either the economic or social development of the community the coffee is produced in.

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    Only to a registered roaster?
    That wouldnt surprise me... I hope its wrong!

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    yeah- that rings a bell....I think that fb may be correct....

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    3:17am??? You need to try your own (very good) decaf Chris!

    PS: is it decaf or decaff? I have been seeing both spellings.

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    It has to be be called decaffeinated....or Nestle busts our (and anybody else who uses the term) butts. Amazing that the term "decaf" can be patented...or was that trademarked...??? *:o

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    Im pretty surprised that we can still use the work "Coffee".... decaffienated is a bit long to be writing over and over, In the interest of the Aussie habit of shortening everything, maybe instead of Decaf (TM) we could use Notcaf? or Uncaf?

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    How about "Nocaf"?

    Mal.

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    below a portion of HAB news for April written by Brett Simpson....link also to the website with the full article located in the news section.....

    http://www.hab.com.au/home.html

    "We have received many inquiries from Roasters re Fair Trade; well currently the New York ‘C’ prices are above Fair Trade levels, which changes the Fair Trade price structure. The organic premium of $ .15 c/lb and the Social Cause premium of $ .05 c/lb are added to the New York ‘C’ price, plus the origin country differential. In essence, this increases the Fair Trade Coffee prices along with the rest of the coffee market.

    If you are buying fair trade coffee, your price is going to increase. Fair Trade was established to create, amongst other things, a base ‘no lower than price’ for small coffee farmers. That base price is 1.21 U.S. cents per pound, plus premiums. That base price in the ‘real world’ of coffee was surpassed 0.15 cents ago! Today we find the intermediaries, in the mountains and remote areas around the world, offering and paying farmers more money for their coffee without quality standards, or certification(s). They are paying more money for the coffee than the fair trade-organic base equals.

    The bottom line is; if we are paying more for our conventional coffee, then we must also pay more for our fair trade organic coffee, or these wonderful coffees will not be available to buy, roast and sell. More importantly we will not be creating a sustainable system."

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    Thanks Chris,
    indexed does make sense and a total of US$0.20 is not a lot to pay for the "sustainable system".

    The bad news is that Fatboy and 2muchcoffeeman might be correct in that we would need to be registered/approved to buy it.

    I was looking into it this week and my reading left me thinking that we could buy it but not sell it using the Fairtrade logo.

    After talking with a supplier it seems that we need to be approved before buying it.

    The saga continues... Ill get a definate answer from Fairtrade next week.

    One thing is sure though, the harder they make it for us to buy it the less likely we will... and the loser is... the people that we should be helping!

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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    Agreed Andy- US $0.20 is nothing.....what really irritates me is how that can become $AUD 40-50 retail for coffee which would normally sell at say $26-34/kg.... ???

    When someone can explain that to me in a way that doesnt make it seem that retailers/fairtrade or middlemen are profiteering, then Im sold! Growers deserve a fair price and they should get most of the extra bucks incurred in the purchase.

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: CUP OF COFFEE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

    Well... while talking to the supplier about Fairtrade I did manage to get a price (which I cannot repeat) but I can tell you that the wholesale price of the green bean is under AU$1 different.

    So the middlemen in shipping, importing and wholesalers can sleep at night but that now points the finger at the roaster and/or retailer for onselling at a whopping margin (even after taking FT compliance into account).

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Cup of coffee that could save a life - Fairtra

    Just an update... I have started chatting with Fairtrade and it appears we might be able to work something out for CoffeeSnobs.

    ;D

    Will know more next week.



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