Michael Fabricant has praised recent efforts in Birmingham to support
Fairtrade and has called for action from the companies and government with
the power to change the coffee market to match it. Prices paid to coffee
farmers are languishing at their lowest for 30 years, but the people of
Lichfield are doing their bit for a fairer world.
The Co-op, with a flagship superstore and its Midlands headquarters based in
Lichfield, has just announced that it is switching all its own brand coffee
to be fairly traded. This will boost the value of the UK Fairtrade coffee
market by 15 per cent or £4 million, returning a total of £¾ million to
growers. Also hundreds of local campaigners have also demanded that the
coffee giants, who make brands like Nescafé and Kenco, do their bit to make
Eliot Whittington from Oxfam said: "Coffee farmers are being paid a
pittance, less than their costs of production, while coffee companies reap
giant profits. Fairtrade is a fantastic solution and is already putting
hope back into the lives of half a million families worldwide.
"Yet while the popularity of Fairtrade grows, coffee companies are leaving
the lives of the 25 million other coffee farmers in the hands of market
forces. It’s time that companies took responsibility for their part, and
companies cared for the people who provide the profits, not just
Michael Fabricant adds: "Fairtrade has made it possible for everyone to have
a global impact with their weekly shopping trip, and with 9 million cups of
coffee drunk in Lichfield each year, the power of our local caffeine lovers
can be even greater.
"But Fairtrade is not the whole answer. Companies and governments must
recognise and seize their responsibility to change the rules and their
practices and make the coffee market work for those people it’s currently
leaving behind. As someone who has worked in the past in coffee growing
areas such as Uganda and Tanzania I am only too aware of the low levels of
income that coffee workers have to labour under."
Since the launch of Oxfam’s coffee campaign, hundreds of local people have
told international coffee companies, Kraft and Nestlé, to put people before
profits. Already Proctor & Gamble, a US based coffee company, has committed
to a new Fairtrade coffee brand.
To find out more and put pressure on UK coffee companies, visit