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Sam Neill has. Have you?

News release from Trade Aid.

Sam Neill, Garrick Tremain, Chris Laidlaw and Ruud Kleinpaste (the Bug Man) all have. Have you? That is the question being posed to New Zealanders as Trade Aid launches the Fair Trade Coffee Pledge.

Simon Gerathy, Trade Aid Campaigns Manager, expects to see a number of other famous New Zealanders sign up during the course of the fair trade pledge campaign.

"While nothing might seem less contentious than a cup of hot coffee, environmental, economic and labour issues abound", he said. "We have chosen coffee as the focus of Fair trade Fortnight this year because over twenty million small coffee farmers, and the families they support, are living in desperate poverty due to the world coffee crisis. Yet they don't need to. Fair trade coffee is a viable alternative that guarantees a living wage."

The underlying cause of the crisis in world coffee prices (hovering around 50 cents a pound) is one of oversupply caused in large part by 1990's IMF (International Monetary Fund) programmes that required developing countries to put their money into export crops in order to receive loans.

While excess stockpiles of coffee continue to drive prices down, coffee corporates experience record profits.

Certified fair trade coffee pays farmers $US1.26 a pound, far above market prices, and can make the difference between a farmer carrying sacks of coffee on his back and buying a mule. Few coffee farmers make more than $US600 a year (the annual cost of a daily cup of latte) and most are trapped in an endless cycle of debt.

Fair trade coffee has kept farmers above water as market prices have plunged. It is now the fastest growing niche of the speciality coffee market in the US - the leading consumer of coffee in the world.

Mr Gerathy says, "Most of the half a million certified fair trade farmers sell only 40-50% of their coffee volume on fair trade terms. An estimated 3 million more small farmers are eligible for fair trade, but are not yet able to participate due to the still small size of the consumer market. This is why building the market for fair trade is so vital.

And this is why Trade Aid is calling on all caring New Zealanders to support the fair trade coffee pledge. Ask your family, business, school, sports club, university, hospital, local council, and your MP if they are drinking fair trade coffee. Ask for it at your supermarket. Every cup makes a vital difference."

You can sign the Fair Trade Coffee Pledge at any one of thirty Trade Aid stores nationwide.

ENDS.

For further information, contact:

Simon Gerathy Campaigns Manager trade aid Aotearoa/New Zealand phone 64 3 385 3535 fax 64 3 385 3536 mobile 025 937 875 email simong@tradeaid.co.nz


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