On average, third world coffee farmers receive a paltry 10 per cent of the eventual retail price. As competition among growers - 70 per cent of whom are smallholders - has stiffened; a combination of price reductions and undercutting has left them exposed to the fluctuations of the volatile coffee market. Along with the negative effect this has had on living conditions, the drive for increased output has had a knock-on effect on the environment as well, with monocropping and sun grown coffee now the norm. And given that most coffee growing regions are also home to some of the most delicate eco-systems on earth; the potential for serious damage is strong. (Source: George Blacksell for The Guardian, How Green is your Coffee)
So where does the local coffee roaster come into the chain? Along with greater coffee consumption has come greater awareness of the problems both from coffee industry people and the consumer. La Casa del Caffe has always had a strong commitment to sustainable, and ethically traded coffee products. It's important for us to give back to the industry that we are in, to protect workers’ rights and welfare, including the women and children, to protect the environment for us all, and of course to pay a fair price for a higher welfare green bean. For example, we fully support PNG coffees, not only for their rich taste and full flavour but because they are one of our closest neighbours and we are keeping the food kilometres down and supporting a developing nation in our region.
Why is sustainably sourced organic coffee so important?
Because it helps protect our precious and fragile environment and it tastes good too. Traditional coffee growers, for mass production, often clear wide swathes of land. This land is predominantly in the rainforest, causing deforestation. The coffee is then exposed to the sun all day, making the beans more vulnerable to pests and insects. The coffee then requires large amounts of pesticides and insecticides to protect them. These pesticides cause soil erosion and pollute local water supplies, ruining the local ecosystem, reducing biodiversity, and leaving the land less fertile.
Organic farmers incorporate shaded trees and various other sustainable agricultural tools for the health of their coffee trees and to solve natural problems of bugs, pests and fungus. Methods include composting, terracing, and inter-cropping and biological pest control.
And by consciously choosing organic coffee, you will be drinking a cleaner product each day.
For more information: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/oct/04/green-coffee