launch of tecafé on the eisteddfod – wales’ fairest coffeePosted: August 14, 2013
The Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign decided to start marketing the coffee after years of supporting fair-trade coffee, and visiting fair-trade farmers in Nicaragua.
“We’ve been inspired by the dozens of fair-trade producers we’ve met and stayed with over the past decade,” said Ben Gregory, member of Wales NSC. “We’ve also been fortunate to have hosted many visitors from Nicaragua. One of them, Janixce Florian of SOPPEXCCA, works with the women’s co-operative that produces tecafé.”
Another, Porfirio Zepeda, described the benefits of fair-trade when he visited Wales:
“We can change the relationship between consumers and producers, and the relationship between prices, so that it a relation that allows us to live.”
“We are dedicating our coffee to the memory of Porfirio, who was tragically killed shortly after his visit to Wales,” said Ben.
Why is tecafé Wales’ fairest coffee? David McKnight, another Wales NSC member, explains:
“The economics of coffee, in fact of all commodities, is pretty simple,” said David. “Most of the ‘value chain’ (from growing to preparation to transport to packaging to retailing) is captured by large multinationals. The producers usually receive the smallest share, and this is dependent on the fluctuations of international prices. Fairtrade seeks to address some of these problems. Through a guaranteed price the fluctuations are ironed out. Through technical and other support, producers can improve the quality (and thus the value) of their product. Through coming together, and working through larger co-operatives like CECOCAFEN (a co-operative of co-operatives) they can increase their negotiating power with the buyers from the large companies. But this still leaves most of the value chain outside of Nicaragua.”
Wales NSC have partnered with a Nicaraguan organisation, ETICO, which is attempting to do something about this. It will ensure that more of the money stays in Nicaragua. The Campaign has long standing links with the partners of ETICO. ETICO’s aim is to promote co-operation rather than competition as a means of achieving efficiency, and delivering the best coffee at the best price for consumers.
“tecafé brings together a lot of our contacts over the years. We visited SOPPEXCA in 2009, and have met with CECOCAFEN on many of our visits,” said David.
On their last visit to CECOCAFEN in February, Santiago Dolmus explained why initiatives like tecafé were needed, even in the world of fair-trade. Fair-trade producers get $1.50 a lb for their coffee. By the time it gets to a supermarket, it sells for $10.80 a lb. “So where does the other $9.30 go?” asked Santiago. tecafé means that more of this will go back to Nicaragua.
And why the name?
“ ‘Tecaf’ is the Welsh word for ‘fairest’, so in this instance it definitely does what it says on the packet,” said Ben. “We hope to grow its sales quickly, so when we return to Nicaragua next year, we can say we are doing our bit to ensure that fairtrade is getting even fairer.”