Monday, June 29, 2009

Starbucks in Africa for Fair Trade talks

Howard Schultz (in short sleeves), head of Starbucks, and Darcy Willson-Rymer (in white shirt), managing director, Starbucks UK & Ireland, speak with local coffee farmers about producing coffee in Rwanda.

The Starbucks Coffee Co., the Fair Trade Foundation and Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) today met with farmers at Dukunde Kawa, a cooperative that cultivates high-quality coffee in central Rwanda.

The purpose of the African meeting was twofold: (1.) For Starbucks and Fairtrade to listen and learn from farmers' experiences, and (2.) to share details around the new Small Farmer Support Initiative (SFSI) which was jointly introduced in April.

The nine-year-old Dukunde Kawa Cooperative has approximately 4,000 members organized into in three groups around three coffee-washing stations which the cooperative operates. The cooperative became Fairtrade Certified in 2004.

The farmers grow a bourbon varietal coffee. The SFSI is a three-year pilot program intended to leverage the expertise and resources that Starbucks and Fairtrade have in coffee-growing regions.

Farmers will have access to the $12.5 million Starbucks has invested in farmer loan programs. Starbucks has an additional goal of incvreasing access to funding for farmer loans to those related organizations to $20 million by 2015 as part of the Starbucks Shared Planet commitment to ethical sourcing.

The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member. This independent consumer label appears on 4,500 retail and catering products in the UK. Today, more than 7 million people - farmers, workers and their families - across 59 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) is a non-profit, multi-stakeholder association that encompasses a global network of Fairtrade organizations that are actively involved in supporting and empowering producers, raising consumer awareness and campaigning for changes in the rules of conventional trade.

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