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Oxfam’s Fairtrade message is a powerful brew

October 19, 2004
Oxfam’s Fairtrade message is a powerful brew

Oxfam’s campaign to mainstream Fairtrade coffee in New Zealand is already having a significant impact on coffee roasters’ purchasing decisions, six months after its launch. Twelve roasters now offer Fairtrade certified coffee in New Zealand. This is impressive progress, given that just a few months ago, Trade Aid was the sole provider of Fairtrade coffee in this country. A range of Fairtrade coffee is now available around the country from some of New Zealand’s top roasters.

While the majority of roasters have enhanced their existing range by adding a Fairtrade line, some roasters have made a hundred percent commitment. People’s Coffee recently opened in Newtown, Wellington, offering only high quality Fairtrade and organic certified coffee. For Matt Lamason, the owner of People’s Coffee, it made sense as a new roaster to go totally Fairtrade.

“Fairtrade lets me indulge in my passion for great espresso while maintaining my integrity,” says Lamason.

At a time when the 25 million coffee farmers around the world are facing catastrophically low coffee prices, the international Fairtrade system is offering hope for a brighter future. While the prices paid to most coffee farmers are too low to cover even production costs, Fairtrade farmers receive a fair and stable price which guarantees a sustainable livelihood. In addition, coffee farmers that participate in the Fairtrade system receive a premium to invest in the economic, social and environmental development of their communities.

“Those involved in the coffee trade know there is terrible human suffering at the heart of their business. They need to be part of the solution,” said Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand. “The roasters who are signing up to sell Fairtrade coffee recognise that the people who enjoy their coffee want assurances that the people who grow the crop are benefiting instead of being exploited. The Fairtrade mark provides that assurance.”

Oxfam says consumer power can make a difference. Coffee drinkers can help by buying fair trade products and by persuading their places of work, local councils, supermarkets and cafes to stock Fairtrade products, starting with coffee. For more information about Fairtrade and where Fairtrade products are available, visit the Oxfam website at www.oxfam.org.nz

ENDS

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