OK, so now you know why Fairtrade organic coffee has coffee drinkers queueing up for more- the natural process for growing and harvesting the beans makes it taste so much better. But there’s more to it than that. This is the really exciting part- Fairtrade. You’re going to love this.
The Fairtrade label is your guarantee that the farmers who grew the coffee received a fair wage for their product. When you’re paying $3 or $4 for a coffee at your local cafe, you might think that the farmers who supplied the beans are doing quite nicely but, in reality, they were most likely paid a pittance- if it wasn’t a fairtrade brand. At best, they might have broken even. Bear in mind that this is their only source of income.
However, under the Fairtrade scheme, farmers are paid a fair price that covers the cost of sustainable production. Farmers can then afford to invest in their farms, build better houses and send their children to school, which breaks the poverty cycle and leads to a better, brighter future. On top of that, they receive an additional payment, called a ‘premium’ that is used for community development projects. And this is where is gets really exciting- entire communities being transformed! Think of that as you’re having your early morning kick-start of caffeine.
Growers of Gumutindo Fairtrade organic coffee in Uganda have used their premium to build a warehouse for storing their produce. They have also built a medical clinic and a secondary school.
Okapa farmers in Papua New Guinea used their premium to construct a dirt road so that they no longer had to walk 15km to the nearest bus-stop while carrying heavy sacks on their backs. The new road means better access to health and education facilities in town.
The women’s cooperative of farmers in Peru, known as Cafe Femenino, decided to build raised indoor kitchens in their homes so that they will no longer suffer chronic back pain from cooking over an open fire outdoors. They also now have medical posts in each village with a fully-equipped first aid kit and the construction of roads to connect villages has begun. And its not just outward change that comes from the opportunities that Fairtrade gives to farmers.
For the women of Cafe Femenino, the biggest transformation has been in the way they see themselves. No longer do they hang their heads, too ‘worthless’ to have a voice. Now they have self-esteem that gives them the confidence to speak up and take on positions of responsibility in the community. They have realised how valuable and significant they really are- and their community is changing for the better because of it.
So go on… get hold of some organic Fairtrade coffee, put the kettle on, and relax. That’s what Mr Darcy- er Colin Firth, would do. Make your world- and the world around you- a better place.