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Quick snapshot from Fairtrade USA’s Wake Up the World broadcast (click here to watch the presentation), which featured Fairtrade producers sharing stories about the impact of Fairtrade. The event featured:
Paul Rice, President & CEO, Fair Trade USA
Wendy Campos Barboza, CoopeTarrazú, Costa Rica
Isaac Zúñiga Aguilar, Cooperativa Agraria Industrial Naranjillo, Peru
Raymond Gitau Wanyugi, Ndumberi Coffee Growers Society, Kenya

Quick snapshot from Fairtrade USA’s Wake Up the World broadcast (click here to watch the presentation), which featured Fairtrade producers sharing stories about the impact of Fairtrade. The event featured:

  • Paul Rice, President & CEO, Fair Trade USA
  • Wendy Campos Barboza, CoopeTarrazú, Costa Rica
  • Isaac Zúñiga Aguilar, Cooperativa Agraria Industrial Naranjillo, Peru
  • Raymond Gitau Wanyugi, Ndumberi Coffee Growers Society, Kenya
Gilberth Ramírez Alfaro is the International Operations Manager at COOPEAGRI in San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica. The 48-year-old cooperative represents over 9,000 farmers and sells coffee and sugar. We met at Fairtrade USA’s “Wake Up the World" broadcast, which featured Fairtrade producers sharing stories about the impact of Fairtrade. Gilberth was in the audience with me and we talked after the presentation.
COOPEAGRI sells roughly 40% of their coffee on Fairtrade terms and he passed me a book on their achievements. Social programs for the elderly, outreach to students and technical support for farmers are just a few of their efforts. They are even working to make San Isidro de El General the first Fair Trade town in Latin America. Although, this past year was difficult for their farmers.
Throughout the conference I’m hearing a lot of stories of difficult harvests, high coffee prices, increasing demand, uncertain weather patterns and other problems. The conditions also affected COOPEAGRI. Some of their farmers saw a 50% decrease in productivity.
Gilberth told me that they have seen an explosion in diseases among their crops due to increased rain. In particular a fungus called “Ojo de Gallo” or rooster’s eye has affected many of their members.
This year they are working to renovate coffee plots and providing even more support to their members. The rains have been regular this year, but it’s hard to predict what will happen.
Kyle Freund of Fairtrade International’s Communications Office is posting to Fairtrade on the Road from the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) annual conference in Houston, Texas. The SCAA Event is the world’s largest specialty coffee conference with thousands of coffee professionals from over 40 countries. For more information on the SCAA Event, click here.

Gilberth Ramírez Alfaro is the International Operations Manager at COOPEAGRI in San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica. The 48-year-old cooperative represents over 9,000 farmers and sells coffee and sugar. We met at Fairtrade USA’s “Wake Up the World" broadcast, which featured Fairtrade producers sharing stories about the impact of Fairtrade. Gilberth was in the audience with me and we talked after the presentation.

COOPEAGRI sells roughly 40% of their coffee on Fairtrade terms and he passed me a book on their achievements. Social programs for the elderly, outreach to students and technical support for farmers are just a few of their efforts. They are even working to make San Isidro de El General the first Fair Trade town in Latin America. Although, this past year was difficult for their farmers.

Throughout the conference I’m hearing a lot of stories of difficult harvests, high coffee prices, increasing demand, uncertain weather patterns and other problems. The conditions also affected COOPEAGRI. Some of their farmers saw a 50% decrease in productivity.

Gilberth told me that they have seen an explosion in diseases among their crops due to increased rain. In particular a fungus called “Ojo de Gallo” or rooster’s eye has affected many of their members.

This year they are working to renovate coffee plots and providing even more support to their members. The rains have been regular this year, but it’s hard to predict what will happen.


Kyle Freund of Fairtrade International’s Communications Office is posting to Fairtrade on the Road from the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) annual conference in Houston, Texas. The SCAA Event is the world’s largest specialty coffee conference with thousands of coffee professionals from over 40 countries. For more information on the SCAA Event, click here.

Productivity and Quality Key in Coffee

Talk about quality is expected at a specialty coffee conference. But this year as the price and demand for high quality coffee has risen, farmers have struggled to keep up. Quality and productivity are the key words and presenters at the Fair Trade Forum put on by Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade International gave some examples of cooperatives and organizations who have made great strides.

A recent announcement of new pricing, premiums and trade standards from Fairtrade International have given producers and traders new resources to improve productivity and quality on their farms.

Right now we’re listening to Raymond Gitau Wanyugi from Ndumberi, a cooperative in Kenya . He’s going over the changes they have made, including educating farmers on better techniques, investing in renovating coffee plots, the addition of a coffee laboratory to better analyze their final product.

His presentation culminated with an “end result of happy farmers”. The cooperative increased their productivity from a half kilo of coffee per bush to 15 kilos over the past few years.

There are other presenters as well, including Isaac Zuñiga Aguilar from COOPAIN in Peru; Ruben Zuñiga Peralta from Huatusco, Mexico; André Luiz Reis from Dos Costas in Brazil; and Timothy Schilling from the Global Coffee Quality Research Institute.


Kyle Freund of Fairtrade International’s Communications Office is posting to Fairtrade on the Road from the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) annual conference in Houston, Texas. The SCAA Event is the world’s largest specialty coffee conference with thousands of coffee professionals from over 40 countries. For more information on the SCAA Event, click here.

At the Coffee Event of the Year

Kyle Freund of Fairtrade International’s Communications Office is posting to Fairtrade on the Road from the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) annual conference in Houston, Texas. The SCAA Event is the world’s largest specialty coffee conference with thousands of coffee professionals from over 40 countries. For more information on the SCAA Event, click here.


SCAA Cover

I’ve attended this conference for the past four years and each time I return, I recognize more faces. Seeing old friends and making new friends are the highlight, and sampling coffees from around the world is pretty good too.

There is always a great spirit of cooperation here. It’s refreshing to be in a space where talk of sustainability and ethical supply chains are backed up by concrete action. For many, the interactions here go beyond trade; people who have worked together for years continue innovating and working to make things better.

But there is always room for improvement and debates pass throughout the halls on how prices and productivity, new techniques and market opportunities can improve for farmers and their families.

On this first day I attended the Fair Trade Forum hosted by Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade International

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