of this magazine I am always privy to rumblings from industry members, and from our field reporters stationed in the thick of things. I donít have any of the answers, but on this page sometimes I can perhaps offer some small insight from the things I hear from the many people I speak with daily. We have reported on a couple of extremely pressing topics this month, and we will follow these developments to keep you informed throughout the year.
First, we report on Mexicoís current internal political strife. Mexicoís smallholder coffee producers are fearful for their future, as the government has announced a series of sweeping new policies affecting Mexicans in some of the most isolated and least developed regions of the country. The Mexican Coffee Council is seen close to liquidation and Roberto Giesemann has resigned as executive president of the government-run organization. Producers have appealed to the government to keep the council operating and continue the support programs it set up under Giesemannís leadership during the past four years. Maja Wallengren reports on these recent developments on page 48.
Giesemann is a coffee producer that has been intimately familiar with growersí needs. His departure from the Council is a true loss to the coffee farmer.
We also update you on the tsunamiís continued effects on coffee growing areasÖ just because itís no longer a hot news story doesnít mean this natural disaster isnít still affecting many people as much as it did a few months ago. Labor shortages have plagued coffee plantations in Indonesia as pickers left to go to the coast in search for their families and havenít returned. Some are staying in the destroyed areas where cash and jobs are easily accessible.
On the other hand, according to Randy Altmanís research for his article on page 18, not a single person indicated a negative consequence for tea in Ceylon because of the Tsunami. He says the Tea Board of Sri Lanka has assured him that the impact of the disaster on Ceylon tea is ďnone.Ē In fact, Reuters leads, at time of this writing, with Sri Lanka stocks actually moving far higher, as construction and healthcare businesses zoom. Thousands and thousands of houses, many new resorts, and new hospitals and so on must be built.
On the consuming front - U.S. roasters have been telling me that as the coffee crisis eases up a bit, some coffee farmers are refusing to deliver coffee at contracted prices, holding out for even more money. Relationships are being strained as exporters, importers, and roasters try to find a solution.
On a far lighter note, but certainly newsworthy, I invite you to join us as we hold our 6th Tea & Coffee Exhibition & Symposium in Hamburg, Germany. For a list of companies and organizations that will be exhibiting, see page 64.
We are proud to announce some brand new and exciting events. Follow the spirited cheering on the show floor to our first European World Cup Latte Art Competition, as well as the European World Cup Barista Tournament, our first Barista tournament ever. All European baristi are invited to compete! Details can be found on page 60. Attendees will also be able to witness a very special Cup of Excellence cupping of winning lots from at least three coffee producing countries.
Editor & Co-Publisher