Business World

Give Up? Give Back.

Does the coffee industry ever want to just give up! It seems all segments are being attacked. Growers are barely eking out a living. Importers are accused of taking too large a cut. Roasters are being blasted for taking advantage of low prices and are seen as the greedy ones. Retailers are being blasted by Fair Trade organizations for not selling more sustainable coffees. And some regions in the U.S. want to levy a tax on coffee to assist growers.

Are we now turning on each other? Canít we take care of each other? Whatís our next step? Itís up to you guys. Some roasters are paying more money to the fincas. Several organizations are helping growers and exporters. Other organizations are intent on bringing as much publicity as they can garner to attack the large roasters. Roasters - defend yourselves! There are many excellent and altruistic programs in which big guys like Proctor & Gamble and Kraft General Foods participate. Iím sure youíll be able to show the public that you do give back. Tea industry beware! What happens to their industry can still happen to yours.

This has been going on too long. This November we have two forums in which we can get together and solve these problems. Deliberate at Sintercafe. Discuss at Coffee Fest. This yearís Coffee Fest in Seattle is the largest ever. Vendors and people interested in entering the industry are eager to attend this event and the informative classes, which continue to grow in variety and number.

Coffee quality is being threatened, blends are changing. We focus on the markets in Germany and Italy this month, where they're buying cheaper and cheaper green coffee. Everyone talks bad about the evil Robusta. Hopefully not anymore. Finally, a new association - World Alliance of Gourmet Robustas - was formed at the recent Tea & Coffee World Cup Asia in Kuala Lumpur in September, aimed at educating the industry and consumer about the excellent qualities of Robusta. Thank you, Pierre LeBlanche for spearheading such a project.

What we saw in Kuala Lumpur was a tremendous thirst for knowledge. There are a tremendous amount of opportunities for more growth in the Asian market.

There are many outlets for the growth of the tea and coffee industry. Letís start acting and implementing plans of action.

Good luck.

Jane McCabe
Editor & Co-Publisher

Tea & Coffee - October/November 2002

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