Business World

Be a Part of the Solution

At their recent conference, the Specialty Coffee Association of America asked several members of the industry to state what they felt was the most exciting thing to happen to them this year in coffee. Eighteen peo­ple revealed many personal thoughts, I was one of them. During these price -depressed times, Paul Katzeff, SCAA president, wanted to focus on some positive events. For a journalist, though, what is exciting is news. Low cof­fee prices, at their lowest in seven years, are threatening to eradicate our industry. Quality is an issue that may very well disappear. Will farmers really continue to grow quality coffee when their best doesn't bring in enough money to feed the family?

These are challenging times for the SCAA - an organization which represents both farmers and roaster/ retailers. How are you all going to meet this challenge?

Several coffee importers have found the farmer unable to ship the cof­fee at these absurdly low prices. The importer is then forced to purchase coffee on the spot market in order to fulfill their obligation to the roaster, who is also suffering in the financial squeeze. In an attempt to help the farmers, several coffee roasters have begun paying premium prices in order to ensure that next year that the same quality coffee will still be available.

What is also exciting is the ways many of the industry members give of themselves to better part of the producers’ life. Each week, I receive notices of some medical team or housing or banking project that various compa­nies undertake and underwrite in order to make a difference.

I applaud all of you and watch to see how you all help alleviate this cri­sis. I ask you during these difficult time to please be a part of the solution.

Jane McCabe
Editor & Co-Publisher

Tea & Coffee - May/June 2001

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