The Power to Make a Difference
Most of the world’s coffee comes from developing countries, where it can make up to 80% of Gross National Product (GNP). These countries often lack things we Kiwis take for granted, like a minimum wage or universal schooling. The income farming families get for their coffee can make the difference between a hard but decent life, or grinding poverty. But the price that coffee farmers get is controlled by the international open market, and is extremely changeable. Unscrupulous middlemen often take advantage of vulnerable farmers, further eroding the farmers’ profits. At Karamu we don’t want to put our money into an economy that takes advantage of the most vulnerable. That’s why we’re supporting the ethical trade movement and sourcing all our coffee from Fair Trade sources.
Why Fair Trade?
Fairtrade is the only international standard that gives coffee farmers a price that covers the average cost of sustainable production. It’s a safety net against the worst peaks and troughs of international commodity prices. This security allows Fairtrade certified coffee farmers to plan ahead, invest in better production methods, and even start sending their kids to school. Fairtrade coffee producers are small family farms, organised in cooperatives or associations which the farmers own and run democratically – meaning fewer middlemen and rip-off merchants.
A coffee farmer who’s part of the PRODECOOP collection of fair trade coffee cooperatives. Photo: PRODECOOP & Trade Aid.
Mokona Hirbayee, a Yirgacheffe coffee farmer with the Fair Trade certified Negele Gorbitu cooperative. Photo credit: Trade Aid.
Sebastiana Martinez Gomez, one of the leading women in the women’s coffee cooperative (and successful coffee farmer and a widowed single mum). Photo credit: Trade Aid.
Classroom built with earnings from the Fair Trade coffee premium through the Negele Gorbitu coffee cooperative – now local kids don’t have to walk 10km and ford a river to get to school. Photo credit: Trade Aid.
Ayantu and Oromia Ibrahim, two of four sisters who now go to school after their community built one with their coffee cooperative’s Fair Trade premium earnings. Photo credit: Trade Aid.
Members of the ISMAM coffee co-operative near Pablo Galeano, in the Siltepec region of Chiapas, Mexico – a fair trade coffee cooperative. Photo credit: Trade Aid.