Article: Catholic Relief Services FT Coffee Program

Written by Cafe Campesino on Apr 1, 2005 in Article, NEWSLETTER |

Café Campesino is proud to be one of the 14 regional Fair Trade coffee retailers to partner with Catholic Relief Services in the CRS Fair Trade Program, a new CRS initiative that creates opportunities for people nationwide to make trade fairer for coffee producers and their communities overseas through the choices they make every day as consumers.

“The CRS Fair Trade Coffee Project creates new opportunities for over 67 million Catholics and other socially-conscious consumers to make trade fairer for poor people overseas,” said Michael Sheridan, Director of the CRS Fair Trade Coffee Project. “Our work has made a real difference in the lives of over 300 low-income farmers and their families.”

The CRS Fair Trade Coffee Program currently supports coffee farmers through assistance in the areas of organizational development, coffee quality, sustainability, diversification and marketing. The collaboration announced today will add to the growing Fair Trade coffee market in the U.S, which reached nearly 19 million pounds of coffee in 2003.

CRS believes that this new, more open model will allow more Catholics to make meaningful local connections to coffee farmers overseas — something that Catholics across the country have been asking for — and more effectively grow the Fair Trade market in the United States.

According to the International Coffee Organisation, the revenue of coffee-producing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America since 1998 have fallen from $10 billion a year to $5.5 billion. In recent years, overproduction of low-grade coffee caused a plummet in prices on the world market. Coffee fell from a high of $1.40 per pound in 1999 to a low of just 45 cents as recently as 2001. Many farmers have reported receiving as little as 15 to 20 cents per pound of coffee. Buying coffee from the CS Fair Trade Coffee Project helps coffee farmers twice: Once, when the beans are bought by the coffee roasters at a fair wage, and again when our participating roasters include a contribution to CRS for every bag of coffee sold to support CRS’ work in Nicaragua.

When you purchase CRS Fair Trade-designated coffee from Café Campesino, we will donate a percentage of your purchase to the CRS Fair Trade Fund to support its work with low-income farmers and artisans overseas. Our full line of fair trade, organic coffees are available for the CRS Fair Trade Program — to view and purchase CRS program coffees, visit our store on-line and click on the CRS logo until you see the button Shop CRS.

By purchasing Cafe Campesino’s CRS Fair Trade Program coffee, you are not only continuing a fair price for our producer partners’ coffee, but are also contributing directly to CRS programs that supplement the impact of Fair Trade by:

• Identifying artisan and farmer cooperatives overseas that have the potential to enter the Fair Trade market;

• Providing sorely needed technical assistance in the areas of organizational development, quality control, or business process management;

• Cultivating market linkages to Fair Trade importers here in the United States; or

• Delivering other needed services to worthy groups of low-income artisans and farmers.

For more information about the CRS Fair Trade Program and other ways for you to get involved, visit

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