BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home

"Our bottom line is people, not profits."
CAA Trading
Upon reading about the recent devastating crash in income from East Timor's coffee harvest BACK DOOR did an extensive web-search for ways that we could respond. And guess what? In several capital cities in Australia there are retail outlets that sell East Timorese coffee at much fairer prices. Buying this fair trade coffee will help to re-build the coffee economy. This coffee can also be purchased on-line
See up-date:
Aug 1 2001 STL: Coffee Prices Fall Sharply, Timor Lorosae Farmers Protest  News from ETimor 


TASTE of a NEW NATION: East Timor Coffee

Community Aid Abroad Trading

Coffee connoisseurs in Australia can now indulge in an organically grown low acid, yet full-flavored, Arabica coffee, at the same time as helping the East Timorese to re-build their coffee economy - a core component in the survival of this new nation.

For many years Community Aid Abroad's work in East Timor has been undertaken quietly due to the Indonesian Government's stance before independence. Nowadays we're working in many ways to rebuild this nation, and one way to do that is to trade with them on their major commodity - coffee.

As a Portugese colony, East Timor boasted an annual production of up to 45,000 tons of Arabica beans. The 1974 invasion by Indonesian forces and the ensuing years of war caused the crop to shrink to 8,000 tons. An Indonesian monopoly over the coffee industry also resulted in low, fixed prices for coffee farmers, and as East Timor's main crop; this had a substantial effect on the country's economy.

In 1994, USAID grants led to the formation of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), a processing and sales cooperative. This move broke down the coffee monopoly, and resulted in the establishment of washing stations near the coffee producing areas, leading to improved quality and a greatly increased income for the farmers. In 1999 the future for coffee farmers, and for East Timor itself looked promising in the lead up to the August ballot for independence.

Unfortunately, the coffee factories (along with many other buildings) did not escape the plundering and burning that took place after the ballot. Last year's crop was completely lost due to the ensuing crisis and the lack of processing facilities.

While still not functioning at 100 per cent capacity, the factories have been rebuilt to prepare this year's crop for export. The beans are picked, pulped, washed and sun dried in the villages. Transport to the coffee factory is often via pitted and winding roads from the highlands or, if there are no roads, villagers transport the bags by carrying them on their heads.

The beans are hulled, polished, graded, and packed into bags at the factory, before being exported as 'green beans' for roasting in Australia. Their organic certification was guaranteed, because the trees have been pesticide and fertilizer-free for more than 25 years!

Available for $7.95 in Community Aid Abroad's 16 One World Shops throughout Australia or through our online shop, the Arabica beans are organically grown by small land holders, and processed into green beans in East Timor.

Freshly roasted and filter ground in Australia, and packed into handy 250gm packs, East Timorese Coffee will tantalise your taste buds - and help this new nation's redevelopment. 

Community Aid Abroad Trading is part of an international fair trade movement, with an alternative approach to international trade which aims at sustainable development for marginalised producers around the world. Working with our parent, Community Aid Abroad - Oxfam Australia, and other Alternative Trading Organisations worldwide, we seek to do this by providing better trading conditions, by awareness raising and by campaigning.

Our bottom line is people, not profits. By purchasing from our Online Shop and Shops around Australia, you are not only getting unique gifts from Africa, Asia and South America, you are helping disadvantaged people around the world build a better future for their families and communities. That's what we mean by 'Gifts That Give Twice'. 

April 2000 New Internationalist Online Magazine: Theme - Fair Trade
Unconvinced? This edition of New Internationalist contains several clear, concise, intelligent articles discussing the issue of fair trade vs free trade. It is essential background reading for anyone unsure of the importance and practicality of fair trading to the pursuit of justice in the world today.

See up-date:

Aug 1 2001 STL: Coffee Prices Fall Sharply, Timor Lorosae Farmers Protest  News from ETimor added Aug 2
“Every week the price falls sharply on the American market in New York. The price fluctuations affect us badly in Timor Lorosae because our coffee is sold on the American market,” Sisto Moniz Piedade, the Operational Director of Cooperative Café Timor (CCT) in Lecidere, Dili.
" ... a kilogram of Timor coffee was sold at Aus$30 in Australia and 100 grams of the same coffee fetched US$1 in Portugal. So I’m really baffled on why we are getting so low prices locally?” Mario Viegas Carrascalao, Leader of the Social Democrat Party (PSD)

BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home
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