Responsible quality coffee
USAID-supported Brazilian producers growing and exporting high-quality coffee
Only two years ago, producing and exporting high-quality coffee was considered unusual in the lives of producers from ten cooperatives in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo states, Brazil. Most of them could hardly imagine having enough potential to grow coffee good enough to be exported to the United States and sold in over 4,000 Wal-mart/Sam’s Club chain stores in the country.
Discovering that potential was made possible through a Responsible Sourcing Partnership project between the U.S. Agency for Interna-tional Development (USAID) in Brazil, roaster company Café Bom Dia, Walmart/Sam’s Club, the Brazilian Service for the Support of Small Businesses (Sebrae) and TransFair USA, a non-profit organiza-tion gathering fair trade initiatives around the globe. Thanks to the partnership, over 5,000 Brazilian coffee producers benefit from finan-cial investments and technical training for certified high-quality coffee producing and exporting.
A positive result from the partnership was publicized during the 1st Fair Trade Certified Cupping Competition Award held on October 2008 in Belo Horizonte. On that occasion, Organic Fairtrade Commu-nity Coopfam took 1st place in the competition’s natural coffee cate-gory. The prizes included a check for US$ 500 and having twenty of their winning coffee bags bought by Café Bom Dia for US$ 7.20 per pound, four times the regular market price.
Coopfam is one of the five cooperatives awarded by the Responsible Sourcing project with grants destined for infrastructure improvements. According to Coopfam president Luís Adauto de Oliveira, project sup-port was essential since eleven producer families used the grants to build coffee drying patios on their properties so their coffee beans could reach proper quality. “By having the opportunity to improve their infrastructure, our families felt their work was being recognized”, says Adauto.
Compared to 2007, Fair Trade coffee exporting grew 38% in Brazil. Seventy-five percent of the total export amount came from the Re-sponsible Sourcing Partnership Project. Café Bom Dia CEO Sydney Marques de Paiva declared that Fair Trade certified products are a guarantee that every person involved in producing, selling and con-suming them is benefiting from sustainable social and environmental standards.