tecafé – wales’ fairest coffee? you bet!Posted: February 11, 2015
The main claim that we make about our coffee, tecafé, is that it’s Wales’ fairest coffee. Does this claim stand up to examination? Sourced from SOPPEXCCA’s fairtrade and organic producers, the growers receive both premiums for this certification. But SOPPEXCCA also pay an additional premium, for women’s unpaid labour.
This development came about with another Nicaraguan fairtrade product, sesame. Del Campo, which organises the sesame co-ops, started discussions with their main customer, The Body Shop. After some research it became obvious that the unpaid labour of women in the co-ops made up a large contribution to the total work of producing sesame. The partners then negotiated a payment to recognise this.
SOPPEXCCA heard about this, and decided to look at ways of introducing it. It fitted in with their gender policy, which is core to their work. So, anyone buying SOPPEXCA coffee pays an additional premium (5 cents a lb) for unpaid women’s labour.
However, this wasn’t enough for SOPPEXCCA. The ruling body, elected by the growers, looked at their entire process to identify who would benefit most. It was obvious that the most precarious and short term work was in the drying mills, where women pick over the coffee on conveyor belts to remove damaged beans (and thus ensure we get a great cup of coffee). And it only lasts three months, during harvest time.
SOPPEXCCA’s growers therefore decided to pool this premium, which is paid to the women in the drying mill, increasing their incomes and security. This is in addition to SOPPEXCCA’s everyday work – training, workshops, educational grants to the daughters of producers, and specific health programmes for women such as cervical cancer prevention.
This confidence building also has impacts outside of the co-operatives. Fatima Ismael is the Director of SOPPEXCCA, and will be visiting Wales in July. She told us:
“The women become more active in their communities. There’s more of a social aspect to their lives, which lessens their fears about taking positions in public life. They take on roles in their communities for the first time.”
These are the reasons why we are proud to make the claim that tecafé is Wales’ fairest coffee. Yesterday we also met with cacao producers, to start discussions about beginning to sell Wales’ fairest cacao. Anyone with ideas for a name?