It is important for us to have a direct relationship and direct business with roasters because it helps us negotiate without using intermediaries and lower our costs. By doing direct sales we can offer higher prices to our producers instead of having that revenue go to intermediaries.
It proved to be very important to take a trip to Canada, specifically to go see the Green Bean Coffee Imports in Manitoba, with the help of Crossroads International in Canada, for us to understand the whole roasting and commercialization process that is made with our coffee beans. For this reason we think this relationship that we started with Green Bean and other small roasters in 2011 is very important.
It is useful to understand both parts of the coffee chain– small coffee producers like ourselves, and coffee roasters such as Green Bean in Canada – so that we can start to build direct business relations within the fields of Fair Trade and specialty coffees.
As a producer and as representative for my cooperative, which is COAINE Ltd., it was a new experience for me to get to know the Canadian coffee market and to see how popular coffee is. In addition, I saw how the coffee is roasted, packaged and distributed to different stores for sale and consumption. This gives extra value to the producers’ work and to our coffee production process, and justifies the standards that we strive to reach that will guarantee the highest quality of coffee at a fair price.
Creating a direct relationship with Canadian coffee roasters contributes to the process of social development and to the income of the families of the coffee producers in our cooperative. We want to continue developing a sustainable base of trust between all parties into the foreseeable future.
Tara Scanlan, of Crossroads International, was our liaison on the ground in Bolivia. Crossroads International is a Canadian international development organization funded in part by CIDA.
Changing the power relationship between buyers and sellers, particularly with coffee, has given producers the confidence to exercise their voice and demand a fair price for their labours. This in turn gives producers the ability to improve the quality of life for their families and community, which is another drop in the bucket in providing
the imbalance of equal opportunities for individuals across the globe.
Being a conscious shopper and supporting direct Fair Trade not only makes consumers feel good, but gives the children of farmers the opportunity to have a dream.