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  1. Following our visit to the Orera village in December I want to share the following updates and some photos (even more photos on the photo pages):

    orera coffee drying
    The harvest was early and so most of the picking was done. All the beans were in the final days of drying before going to the mill and then being packed to send to us in the UK. 

    signing for payment
    We made some pre-payments on the crop which is essential for smallholders given they often have no other sources of income, and no lines of credit like big companies. The money helped them to pay for food for Christmas and for education fees due early in the new year. 

    We looked around the vilage and met with the kids, taking gifts and playing silly games. We sat through long meetings and then one-by-one paid each smallholder and had them sign for their reciept which is such a huge leap forward in transparency and avoids dispute and corruption (even if it is a long process!) See the list of signatures here.

    There was further encouragement with progress on tree-planting by the Community Club and a new bee project. The land that was jointly purchased for pulpery and processing is now finalised and ready for the building of a store house which EA were able to make a donation towards construction.

    Great trip, and encouraging to see the real difference we get to make. The work we do is a priviledge and we've returned thankful for the customers we have who make it all possible.

  2. Exportação Café Ecologico–Inglaterra

    This was the title of the email I received last week. Simple translation/meaning - the export of eco/organic/biodiverse coffee to England. 
    Just had confirmation from Athos at the Gerezim Farm in Brazil that our coffee is packed and ready to ship - as many of you know this is one of our direct trade relationships and their coffee is outstanding. 
    Check out the bags getting packed

    brazil2011 packed_01  brazil2011 packed_02  brazil2011 packed_03  brazil2011 packed_04  brazil2011 packed_05

  3. ‘Ethical Objections to Fairtrade’ by Peter Griffiths has just been published in the Journal of Business Ethics 

    It quotes a wide range of academic field research and information provided by Fairtrade itself. Its conclusions are:

    The Fairtrade movement is a group of businesses claiming to trade ethically. The claims are evaluated, under a range of criteria derived from the Utilitarian ethic. Firstly, if aid or charity money is diverted from the very poorest people to the quite poor, or the rich, there is an increase in death and destitution. It is shown that little of the extra paid by consumers for Fairtrade reaches farmers, sometimes none. It cannot be shown that it has a positive impact on Fairtrade farmers in general, but evidence suggesting it harms others is presented. Many of the weaknesses are due to an attempt to impose political views on farmers and others.

    Secondly, the unfair trading criteria require that sellers do not lie about their product, nor withhold information that might alter the decisions of a substantial proportion of buyers. It is argued that the system only can exist because of the failure of the Fairtrade industry to give the facts on what happens to the money and what it can be proved it achieves. This unfair trading compromises the reputation of charities in general.

    Much of the trading may constitute the criminal offence of Unfair Trading in the EU.

    Peter Griffiths says: "I have worked on food and agricultural marketing in 30 countries around the world, for governments, the EC, the World Bank, UNDP, FAO etc. Few people would claim my knowledge or experience of this subject, which is where Fairtrade operates."