Category: Farmer Organizations

393. What we miss when we take care of the business

Root Capital’s issue brief on social and environmental due diligence is lousy with insight.  But one phrase in particular jumped off the page for me: the one in which it notes that lenders “typically interact only with the business.” I think the same can be fairly said of most of the supply chain actors downstream […]

392. Root Capital doing business unconventionally, again.

Root Capital is the most important organization in the coffee trade that most coffee drinkers have never heard of.  The commercial finance it extends to coffee cooperatives in the “missing middle” of credit markets makes the trade work for smallholders; its innovations in financial advisory services, internal credit funds, clean technology and income diversification are […]

374. Five survival strategies for smallholders

Two weeks ago, I suggested that the coffee business is broken and that we need to take extraordinary measures to fix it: create alternative pricing mechanisms, build a permanent institution to foster cross-sector collaboration and send explorers to the frontiers of coffee to search for new insights.  We have our work cut out for us, […]

369. Epilogue

The CRS Coffeelands Blog published perspectives from the intersection of coffee and international development from 2009-2013. We launched the blog because we believe that despite a quarter-century of investment and innovation to get closer to the source of our coffee, “there are still real opportunities for discovery and growth in terms of our understanding of […]

360. Coffee rust: It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

With apologies to my doppelganger Michael Stipe for the title of this post, I cannot get this R.E.M. lyric out of my head after huddling in El Salvador for a week with colleagues from Central America to plan a response to the coffee rust epidemic. During the final day of the First International Coffee Rust […]

344. FTUSA steps up on impact measurement

This week, more than 15 months after it broke with Fairtrade International and rewrote the rules of Fair Trade for the U.S. marketplace with its Fair Trade for All initiative, Fair Trade USA has advanced a plan to measure the impacts of FT4All on all coffee farmers and farmworkers in the Fair Trade system.  The […]

340. Pathological collaboration in a time of rust

During last year’s SCAA Symposium, Liam Brody of Root Capital urged participants to be “pathologically collaborative” in addressing the ills that continue to ail specialty coffee.  Peter Giuliano suggested soon afterward that Liam had “blown up the Twitterverse” with the memorable call to cooperation.  But the full echo of that call may only be sounding […]

325. Top 10 posts of 2012

For the second year in a row, the most popular posts to the CRS Coffeelands Blog were related to our coverage of changes in the Fair Trade system: posts on Fair Trade for All took seven of the 10 top spots for 2012.  Rounding out the top 10 were posts on water resource management and […]

323. “Empowerment partnerships” for FT4All?

I published a series of posts last week that included observations and recommendations for the future of Fair Trade for All based on our experience in Colombia with one of the first Fair Trade Certification pilots for independent smallholder farmers.  What I didn’t include was a description of a strategy we have applied in the […]

322. Recommendations for the future of FT4All

The world’s first Fair Trade Certification pilots with independent smallholder coffee farmers are winding down in Colombia.  CRS supported one of those pilots. Based on that experience, we offer three recommendations for future pilots: two to ensure they generate the kind of rigorous, results-based evidence we believe should drive decisions about the future of Fair […]