Coffee Producers Advisory Council Meets in Oakland

08/24/2009 - 3:49 PM
This week, TransFair USA is excited to host a meeting of the Coffee Producers Advisory Council at our offices in Oakland. The Coffee Producer Advisory Council gives the primary beneficiaries of our movement— coffee farmers— an opportunity to play a leading role in devising strategies for expanding the Fair Trade Certified market. The Council is comprised of 10 highly regarded leaders from cooperatives across Latin America, Africa and Asia. It meets two to three times each year to study market dynamics, discuss strategies, and address producer concerns. Check out our photos on Flickr: [tylr-slidr userID="fairtradecertified" groupID=""]http://www.flickr.com/photos/fairtradecertified/sets/72157622009239061/[/tylr-slidr] The council will be in Oakland today and tomorrow to discuss the latest news in the coffee industry, from the producer's point of view.  This is an exciting time for us to gain insight on the challenges that farmersthese farmers are facing, and how TransFair USA can better serve their community's needs. Who are they?

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Raymond Kimaro from Tanzania has worked supporting small producers for decades.  From his position at KNCU (coffee co-op in Tanzania) to this leadership role with the African Fairtrade Network, Raymond has truly made a difference for African small producers.  He is now retiring from his post and plans to return to his farm to continue growing coffee. Raul del Aguila is the president of the Latin American Fair Trade Producers Network and leader of COCLA in Peru.  Raul has also worked for decades in supporting small producers and currently has a post in the FLO board. Tadesse Meskela helped form the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU), a union of 130,000 small producers that is located in the birthplace of coffee: Ethiopia.  Tadesse is well known in the coffee industry for the documentary “Black Gold” that features his hard work and struggle to find better markets for the coffee produced by small producers in Ethiopia. Fernando Cerqueira is the general manager of the main supplier of Fair Trade coffee to the United States.  His cooperative has been able to help thousands of producers in Brazil obtaining higher prices but also better access to credit and access to necessary agricultural inputs. Hernando Restrepo represents Expocafe, an exporter organization owned by several Fair Trade producer organizations in Colombia.  His work has been significant in tripling the purchases of Fair Trade coffee coming from Colombia in the last year.  This work has allowed Fair Trade to support thousands more small producers in Colombia. (from the left and sitting): Merling Preza is the leader of the Latin American Coffee network and the Nicaragua cooperative PRODECOOP. Merling is one of the leaders of the Fair Trade movement and member of the Fairtrade Foundation board in the UK.  Her work and advice over the last years has helped us to continue improving the Fair Trade system and the overall impact to small producers all over the world. Gerardo de Leon is one of the leaders in the cooperative movement in Guatemala.  For decades he has worked to make sure that small producers’ voice is heard by the national government in Guatemala and all over the world.  His knowledge of the coffee market has been extremely valuable for TransFair USA in this producers’ council Delmar Lopez from Mexico is in the board of the Latin American Fair Trade Producers network.  Delmar helps thousands of small producers in Mexico to find better markets and prices for their products. Carlos Vargas, member of TransFair USA board, has worked supporting small coffee producers from Costa Rica for several years.  From his current position at CoopeTarrazu, he has helped Costa Rican small producers to position their coffees as one of the most appreciated by U.S. consumers.  His assistance, as member of our board, in creating this Producer Council has allowed us to make our work more relevant to millions of small coffee producers from all over the world. Do you have a question for the Advisory Council members? Post it in the comments section, and we'll make sure they see it.
08/24/2009 - 3:49 PM
08/24/2009 - 3:49 PM