You might have seen that documentary Life and Debt which focuses on the plight of Jamaican farmers. But if their life was hard, it’s been immeasurably harder for the coffee farmers of Mount Elgon in Uganda.
Privatisation had brought in the large multinational companies like Nescafe – which we import here, for some reason – which caused the coffee unions to collapse.
But then came Cafédirect, which is part-owned by the farmers and abides by the Fairtrade principles of paying them above market prices for premium produce. Consumers are then happy to pay more for the coffee, happy that they’re no longer part of ripping off Third World farmers.
Given that we’re failing to produce in vast quantities in Jamaica – and not just our coffee which can command a huge premium anyway – this might provide a lesson, given an existing appreciation for the quality of our produce.