A few weeks ago, NPR ran an article on the disappearing smallholder cocoa farmer. A few days ago, Michael brought our attention to a Guardian article on the plight of small farmers globally, and gently reminded us that this isn’t a new story, especially not for specialty coffee. The list of challenges for small farmers […]
A few weeks ago I asked here some searching questions regarding the standard for disclosure in Direct Trade. I will get back to that issue soon, but first it may be helpful to acknolwedge all the great work already done to establish and communicate clear standards for Direct Trade.
In a few hours I will be boarding a flight for the United States and leaving Guatemala for good after living and working here for nearly four years. Two nights ago I had dinner and a great discussion with the owner of a coffee estate — a parting conversation that served to remind me of […]
It is early June, which means that the rains are falling heavier now here in the coffeelands, and Counter Culture is releasing another Direct Trade Certified Transparency Report in the States to much well-deserved fanfare. The report may generate less buzz in its sophomore season than it did last year as a rookie sensation, but […]
Based on some data we have collected in Nicaragua, it looks like direct trading relationships this harvest were worth about 50 cents a pound, and Direct Trade relationships even more.
The study on the economic impacts of Fair Trade and organic certifications that appeared in a recent issue of Ecological Economics has prompted some good, informed discussion, but also its share of distortion. After carefully reading (and re-reading) the study, here is my take on it as someone who works with both certified and non-certified […]
Stories are swirling this year about one of the unforunate side effects of high prices — coffee is being stolen. And it is not just coffee that is getting lost at origin — lives are being lost, too. In El Salvador, theives recently stole coffee grown by a CRS partner cooperative and killed four security […]
Microlots may be the exclusive domain of quality-obsessed roasters who are willing to pay top dollar for the finest coffee a grower or group of growers has to offer. But that doesn’t mean that microlots don’t generate benefits for those roasters who aren’t. Microlots may help farmer organizations be better trading partners for everyone in […]
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I participated this year for the first time in the SCAA’s annual Symposium. I realized what a coffee geek I am when I felt mildly star-struck by my contact with such luminaries as James Hoffman, Peter Giuliano, Geoff Watts, Aida Batlle, and others similarly positioned in the industry’s stratosphere. […]
I am writing this post from the coffeelands in El Salvador, where many of the cooperatives we accompany made the ill-advised decision to fix the prices in their coffee contracts for the 2010/11 cycle as early as last September. Contracts fixed then at $2-$2.25 a pound were cause for celebration — in some cases these […]