Black Gold - an alternative look - comments thread

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Postby KahawaShaun » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:56 pm

Hi Matt - yes, used to be based in Tanz (used to be based in Tz, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Zaire as well) but now back in Europe - 16 years is too long to be away from family....

Kenyan's can often be 'too damn expensive' but that's the price the world has to pay for 'bad-guys' being ultra aggressive at weekly auctions. Who knows, maybe with direct exporting the prices may become slightly more sustainable (sustainable for the roaster, not the farmer!). And then the farmers complain that the exporters are running a cartel and they should get more for their coffee....

As for the estates, maybe in the past they have been not as squeaky-clean as they could have been, but when the yearly-new Minister for Co-ops, Agriculture, Land, Finance etc etc threatens to nationalise/grab your farm what kind of business plan would you formulate? Now, as far as I know, 90% of the larger ones are, at the very least, Utz certified and are pulling up their socks in every depatment.

On the point of tax, maybe I should have been clearer. Yes the 1,000s of taxes do not help. A friend once worked out that in Tanzania the coffee is taxed 61 times from farm gate to FOB ship. SIXTY ONE times! But also what has to be concidered is that closed/monopolistic systems create other problems. Both Kenya and Tanzania have a tiny number of processing mills so they charge an enormous amount for their services. In Kenya a farmer who was a co-op member used to have to send his parchment to the mill in downtown Nairobi, meaning he was transporting 20% waste/air for a minimum of 3 hours, all of which brought down his income.

I repeat, maybe Fairtrade / Oxfam et al should look at some of the quick, simple changes that could be made which would have an immediate, lasting postive effect on the farmers income rather then constantly bashing one sector.

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Postby prettygreenparrot » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:05 pm

A similar approach to fair trade was described in #75 of the riverfordstockley veg box newsletter http://www.riverfordstockley.co.uk/news ... newsid=415

fairtrade is another brand, what really counts is paying fair prices for quality goods. And that only improves when you have a relationship with your supplier.
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Postby CakeBoy » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:32 am

Hey PGP, good to see you. Hope you are well :D. Totally agree on the brand comment.
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Postby prettygreenparrot » Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:13 am

Thank you. it's nice to be back on TMC. :D
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