Fair pricing for Rwandan coffee

rwandan_farmersGreen Mountain Coffee recently released its limited edition Spring Revival Blend, featuring Fair Trade Certified coffee from Rwanda.

Spring Revival Blend is the result of a partnership between Green Mountain Coffee, the Cordes Foundation, and TransFair USA, the leading third - party agency to certify Fair Trade products in the United States. Announced last year during the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, the partnership aims to raise awareness of the Rwandan coffee story, increase consumer demand for the country’s specialty coffee, and inform U.S. consumers that everyday purchases—such as a cup of coffee—can echo across continents to help alleviate poverty in the developing world.
For consumers thirsty to make a difference, Green Mountain Coffee’s Spring Revival Blend is a seasonal blend that offers sweet aromas, balanced flavors and a compelling story of hope. Kenneth Davids, editor of the independent 'Coffee Review', awarded Spring Revival Blend an outstanding score of 90 on a 100 - point scale. The coffee is available in 10 - ounce bags, 2.2 ounce fractional packages, and K - Cup portion packs for Keurig Single - Cup Brewers through to early June 2010 at participating retailers and at www.GreenMountainCoffee.com.
“Rwandan farmers are playing an increasingly important role in specialty coffee, and have developed a well - deserved reputation for producing extraordinary beans,” said Lindsey Bolger, Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships for the Specialty Coffee Business Unit of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. “Fair Trade pricing and more direct access to roasters allows these small - scale farmers to receive real value for their high quality coffees, while dramatically improving their communities and contributing to the country’s long - term, sustained economic development.”

Making a living
Known as the “land of a thousand hills,” Rwanda’s high altitudes, rich climate and predictable rainfall create a perfect microclimate for coffee farms. However, years of conflict and political unrest have made it challenging for farmers to earn a living from their crops — until now. The joint Clinton Global Initiative commitment of the Cordes Foundation, TransFair USA, and Green Mountain Coffee — valued at $250,000 — is helping the Rwanda farming cooperatives KOAKAKA and ABAKUNDAKAWA build thriving international coffee enterprises and market their products directly to the largest consumer market in the world — the United States.
“Coffee is playing a critical role in Rwanda’s economic revitalisation and represents a lifeline for farmers cultivating small plots, typically isolated from international buyers and crucial services,” said Paul Rice, President and CEO of TransFair USA. “This programme will empower these farmers to tell their stories to American consumers. And because of their involvement in the Fair Trade system, the farmers and workers receive a higher market price for their goods and improved terms of trade, which in turn, dramatically improves their lives. Fair Trade empowers U.S. consumers to reduce poverty through their everyday purchases.”
Said Christine Condo, executive director of the Rwanda Economic Development Initiative, “They [KOAKAKA] have built new roads and can now afford to pay the school fees for the children of their members. In Africa, it’s very difficult for villagers to attend school, but since the cooperative became Fair Trade Certified, the majority of members, 90 per cent, can send their children to school thanks to Fair Trade. This is incredibly important for the farmers, and the higher prices that they have received from Fair Trade have increased their motivation and improved their lives in real terms. Fair Trade has also helped them improve their individual and communal health as they now can afford health care. This is a great thing; it doesn’t just decrease poverty, but also improves their daily lives.”
Having worked in Rwanda for more than three years, TransFair USA provides local farming cooperatives with targeted training and links to international marketplaces. For more than 35,000 Rwandan coffee families, Fair Trade certification has translated into new schools, improved healthcare, new clean water wells, and long - term economic security. Sales of Spring Revival Blend will continue to generate additional income for farmers as well as Fair Trade premium funds to invest in social programmes. Overall, GMCR purchased over 16.2mn pounds of Fair Trade Certified coffee from Africa, Asia and Latin America during its fiscal 2009. These purchases resulted in over $1.6mn in social premiums paid to farmers in the developing world.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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