Cape Town: Beans

They may be small, but these little beans help get me up every morning.

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Recently I went to a lovely coffee shop, in central Cape Town, called “Bean There“.   After seeing on the internet that all their coffee is Fair Trade it seemed a great place to get a caffeine fix.

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Their direct fair trade means that “producers receive a fair payment for their coffee through equal engagement, regardless of market fluctuations, which ensures community development, empowerment, and sustainability.”

Fair wages and good working conditions sound pretty positive.  Nevertheless it is a contested issue and some debates include:

-  Fair trade harms non fair trade producers – who are often the poorest farmers.  While certain producers can afford Fair Trade status, by paying for certification, an improvement of working conditions, a minimum wage for workers, the poorest farmers may not be able to do this.  Without the Fair Trade mark on their goods, and with more and more people buying Fair Trade products, money may actually be diverted from those who need it most.

This lady argues along a similar line.

- Another problem is that companies can charge anything they want for a fair trade product but as a consumer we cannot see the breakdown of where this extra money is going.  It is hard to know how much of the extra money paid goes to the farmer and how much of it goes to the company.

At the same time there are many labour violations on coffee farms and Fair Trade can help to reduce this  There are also a lot of positive cases out there for Fair Trade coffee. 

I will still continue to buy Fair Trade coffee as I think there are benefits in doing so (of course there are limitations too).

In other news, the weather was fairly bad last week so there was plenty of time for relaxing inside

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and wrapping up in a blanket for work!

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That’s all for now.

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