The many visitors to the Fairtrade Big Brew held at Oakham Methodist church hall on Saturday 4th March were invited to “Taste the Good in their Coffee.”  High quality coffees from Africa and South America were available to enjoy along with other drinks and delicious homemade cakes.

A special visitor, Esther Koskei, chair of the Kabng’etuny Women in Coffee Association in Kenya, spoke to explain what was “good” about choosing to drink Fairtrade marked coffee.  Members of her own association of small coffee producers have been empowered by the training provided through Fairtrade marketing support and are now giving a lead to other producers in their area.  An illustration is that they have been able to build biogas units which use animal dung to produce gas for cooking so they no longer have to walk miles to collect firewood for wood burning cookers.  They are healthier because they now do not have to breathe the smoke from the open fires – and the outflow from the biogas unit is excellent fertilizer for the coffee bushes.

They still face major problems including droughts associated with climate change.  Along with thousands of other growers who produce high quality coffees to Fairtrade standards they are only able to sell a proportion of it to the Fairtrade market.  They need more consumers to buy Fairtrade.

Esther will be meeting young people at Catmose College and travelling to other areas of the East Midland to share her story and to encourage more people to “Taste the Good in their Coffee.”

Esther Koskei chats with Chrysi Dimaki of the Fairtrade Foundation and Deirdre Dickinson

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