Direct Trade is Dead, Long Live its Founding Principles
Blog, News & Articles
Is Direct Trade Fair?
A US-based article and examples but nonetheless interesting and relevant. And exposes those who try to say they are doing direct trade but don't really, whilst acknowledging those of us that do sincerely make a real difference.
Coffee trees and landscape can look beautiful in many countries but visiting for us isn't just about photos - it's the people, stories and relationships that matter.
We get to check farms for quality and environment; we get to see the workers, but the relationships we form are increasingly becoming special friendships. The stories we are a part of have far more impact than we could have hoped for 11 years ago when we set out on this adventure.
I got back from Brazil only last week and I'm reflecting on the journey with this family – it keeps getting better and better. Not only do they produce great coffee, but their care of workers and environment is testimony to who they are as human beings. When we first bought coffee from Isaltino in 2010, his son Athos worked out the export paperwork and procedure to make it happen. That was the impetus for him to go on and establish his own export business with two others.
Not content with doing well for themselves, off the back of their own success they are helping other farmers, developing speciality coffee and increasing income for others too. With passion for speciality coffee Athos, Demilson and Herico are now looking up, literally 1000ft higher up, into the mountains at Jacutinga, where a small rural community have the potential to produce exceptional coffee if they can just be taught to invest the time in selective harvesting and better processing.
In partnership with them we are now looking at a project to invest in that community, to bring about sustainable incomes, higher standards of living and consistently fantastic coffee.
Travelling is rarely comfortable, but always an adventure, and the scenery can be stunning - check out the photos online.
Here's to more adventures,
Ian & EATeam
Updates recently from Beckham and Dorcas (students we had sponsored through Kira Farm with Amigos):
Such encouragement to hear they are thankful for their training and opportunities. Both have returned home to implement their learning and start businesses (farming and building). Life remains tough but they feel they have hope and a future now.
Humbling, but also reminds us that little by little we can seed hope. We can make a difference, even if it is small for one person, we all can do something.
This is Dorcas in her new rice field
It's been all over the news about the crash in the £ and how this will make things like coffee 'jump' in price next year - well, as with so much of the news there is some truth but not nearly as dramatic as they like to report! I'm sure we're not the first supplier to write to you about this, in fact some of our suppliers have written twice, putting two price rises in!!
Yes the £ has devalued by 15-20% and many things in the UK are bought in Euros or Dollars, but here's what it actually means for EA customers:
- Coffee will go up by less than £1/Kg - which really means less than a penny per cup.
- Tea prices are up from suppliers so there'll be a 2-7% increase on teas
- Hot chocolate and syrups - NO change
- Cups and disposables - NO change
- Sugar sachets - NO change
- Delivery charges - still FREE over £70
We haven't changed our prices for more than 2 years and in that time everything has gone up, from coffee and tea, to boxes, wages and delivery costs. That said, EA has grown, been able to buy more in bulk, negotiate better courier rates, and ultimately we want to always be as honest and fair as possible with you, our customers, so we're taking a hit on our margin next year to share the effect of Brexit and the devalued £, in hope that it will recover by next year's crop.
What we won't do is compromise on quality, or change the farms we work with just to get cheaper coffee. And we're committed to our farmers, our high standards and the projects we support.
We hate doing this but it's part of business and unavoidable at times.
Any questions or concerns please call or email me directly.