In an immersive new audio experience, the Fairtrade Foundation is bringing the story and experience of a coffee farmer to the UK’s biggest coffee event, London Coffee Festival (LCF) 2017, which last year attracted more than 30,000 visitors from across the UK.
Throughout the four-day event, 6-9 April at London’s Old Truman Brewery, Fairtrade’s interactive stand reveals what life is like for the people behind the coffee that businesses and consumers in the UK rely on.
Anna Pierides, Coffee Supply Chain Manager, Fairtrade Foundation, said:
“This year we want to bring a shot of reality to London Coffee Festival. This event is all about celebrating coffee and yet there is little mention of the people who work hard to produce high quality, environmentally and socially sustainable beans that go on to be roasted and blended into the delicious drinks millions of us enjoy in the UK.
“We don’t want people to forget about these producers, so our stall is encouraging people to learn about farmers’ lives and about some of the challenges they are up against, which include poverty, hunger and exploitation, as a result of low prices for their harvests and unfair trading systems. Our message to the industry and public alike is – Don’t feed exploitation. Be part of the solution and choose Fairtrade.”
The Fairtrade Foundation is encouraging visitors to meet coffee farmer Bijumon Kurian (pictured) and listen to an audio recording about his life. Bijumon is also the director of a Fairtrade and organic farming co-operative in Kerala and represents 5,000 members of his community. He will be at the event to talk to people about his work, and the difference the Fairtrade market makes.
Bijumon said: “In the Western Ghats of Kerala, the hamlet of Keezhanthoor has been producing specialty Arabica Coffee for the past 25 years. There are around 200 farmers living in this village who depend on growing coffee and vegetables for their living. They work hard to make sure their coffee meets the organic and Fairtrade sustainability standards and in doing so have been able to get better prices and access to markets, as well as improving soil fertility, which mitigates in many ways against the impact of climate change.”
The Fairtrade Foundation’s stall HP6 is located in the Hyde Park area of the festival. Visitors can find out more by visiting the many other stalls at LCF that support Fairtrade, including Starbucks, Grumpy Mule, CruKafe, Dualit, M&S, Lemonaid & ChariTea, Matthew Algie and UCC Coffee.
- Most of the world’s coffee is produced in developing countries and smallholders produce the majority of the world’s coffee
- Coffee is grown in over 70 countries
- 125 million people worldwide are dependent on coffee for their livelihoods
- Brazil is one of the top three coffee producing countries, yet in 2014, nearly 8% of Brazil’s population were living at or below the World Bank absolute poverty line of $1.90 per day or £1.51
- Smallholder coffee farmers in three Central American countries were found to have no guarantee of food security for 3-4 months every year. Food can be so scarce farmers have named the period Los Meses Flacos (the thin months) in Nicaragua.
- In 2014 coffee had a global export value of $30.8 billion, roughly half the GDP of Kenya
- In 2014 the UK was the world’s tenth largest coffee importer by value
- Fairtrade coffee is grown in 30 countries
- Fairtrade represents roughly 812,500 small-scale coffee farmers which are members of 445 producer organizations
- In the UK, we drink approximately 55 million cups of coffee per day
 http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/farmers-and-workers/coffee accessed 27/1/17
 World Bank Absolute Poverty Line $3.1 = £2.47 conversion 27/1/17 Brazil Population 7.6% below this in 2014 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.2DAY?locations=BR
http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/~/media/fairtradeuk/media%20centre/documents/fairtrade_breaking_fast_report.ashx Caswell M. et al, Revisiting the thin months: a follow up study on the livelihoods of Mesoamerican coffee farmers, International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), 2014
 http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/ken/ $60.9 Billion, using UN datat from 2014, accessed 27/1/17
 Nielsen Scantrack, August 2016
For more information, images and interview requests, please contact Susannah.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 440 8597
Notes to editors
– Today, more than 1.65 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 76 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
– The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent consumer label that appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade.
– Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.
– Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continues to be high in 2015, at a level of 93%.