Category: Farmer Organizations

Third-Rail Communications

The Direct Trade-v-Fair Trade debate resurfaced here last week.  I weighed in on that debate here yesterday. Today I want to explore a related idea: that the leading proponents of these two trading models may have communicated themselves into corners from which they can’t easily extricate themselves even though they desperately need to. Direct Trade […]

Apples and Oranges

When the Fair World Project published this comparison of select brands in the U.S. coffee market last year, I was sorely tempted to respond here. To explain publicly what was happening privately: that I was being asked by Fair Trade roasters in the upper tiers to arrange meetings with Direct Trade roasters in lower tiers […]

Conversations in PRM, part 3: Jorge Cuevas – A shared cost approach to price insurance

“Price Risk Management is one of the most misunderstood topics of the coffee crop cycle.” This is how my conversation on PRM with Jorge Cuevas, the Chief Coffee Officer for Sustainable Harvest, began. Sustainable Harvest has been training cooperatives and incorporating the use of price insurance for many of their client cooperatives.  It’s part of […]

The CRS Coffeelands Advisory Council

Last week, we celebrated International Coffee Day by announcing a $4.5 million commitment to establish the CRS Coffeelands Program, a global effort to pursue our vision for the future of the coffee sector: smallholder coffee growers who are organized, profitable and resilient; coffee farmworkers who are dignified, engaged and empowered; and coffee-growing landscapes that build […]

Introducing The CRS Coffeelands Program

Back in July, the International Coffee Organization announced that 1 October would be International Coffee Day.  Ever since, it has been asking this question on its social media: “How are you celebrating International Coffee Day?”  Today, I am delighted to answer on behalf of CRS: by launching a global coffee program. . .

Perspectives on PRM, part 1: Ed Canty – “risk management is everyone’s business”

2015-09-28 Comments

A few days ago, I wrote about the need for producers to manage their exposure to price.  Let’s start with a disclosure:  I have no formal financial training.  However, my work with the coffee sector, I recognize that my focus has been on mitigating the risks on the production side – climate change, diseases – […]

Side selling to the ghost of Hugo Chávez

Side-selling. Side selling refers to a situation where a producer (or cooperative) does not comply with a contract and chooses to sell their coffee to someone else. This can happen in markets with rising coffee prices, when the local price for the coffee exceeds the price agreed upon in a contract. When farmers, or their […]

Report from East Africa – Coffee origins with enormous potential (and enormous challenges)

My fellow blog authors and I are very self-aware of Coffeelands’ biases. It is told from a (mostly) white male development professional’s perspective from Latin American origins. However, this bias is not reflective of the global reach of CRS’ coffee programming. In addition to our five active coffee projects in Latin America, we currently have […]


In my family, the 1987 film “The Princess Bride” is something of a tradition. I showed it to our kids early (perhaps too early for the younger ones) and we watch it often. For better or worse, references to its many memorable lines now punctuate conversations in our house. But there is one trope in […]

How can we encourage direct investment at the base of the coffee supply chain?

2015-06-08 Comments

Hugh and I are in the Netherlands, where we are getting ready to participate in the Sustainable Food Lab Summit, a meeting that gathers together different stakeholders in supply chains and facilitates a great discussion about finding solutions to ensure the future of our global supply chains. It is against this backdrop that I start […]