April 11, 2005

The Future of the Coffee Industry - A new vision by Victor Zwald, President Swiss Coffee Trade Association and Dr Patrick Dixon: "The following is adapted from story written in the Financial Times 27 January 2005 by Elizabeth Rigby:
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'Big coffee producers such as Nestle and Kraft have been pressed to introduce a voluntary levy on raw coffee beans as part of a wider move to promote sustainable development. The Worldwide Sustainable Coffee Fund, set up by leading members of the coffee industry, yesterday put forward at an International Coffee Organisation meeting in London a proposal to levy Dollars 1 on every 60kg bag of beans.
Walter Zwald, former president of the Swiss Coffee Trade Association, spearheading the proposal, said the move would raise Dollars 70m a year. 'The money would be split between projects based in producing countries and the promotion of coffee consumption,' he said. The ICO had agreed to explore the proposal and would meet the Coffee Fund team to present a more detailed plan.
The plan has informal backing from 70 per cent of coffee-producing countries. The Coffee Fund first discussed the scheme in 2001 but it was rejected by ICO at that time.
However, the continued fall in coffee prices has prompted a rethink. The ICO estimates that earnings of 50-plus producer countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have dropped from Dollars 10bn a year to Dollars 5.5bn a year since 1998. The scheme will focus on the mainstream market rather than just the fair-trade segment of the industry, which makes up only 2 per cent of coffee production.
'This is all part of a conversation about sustainable coffee production and human justice,' said Patrick Dixon, chairman of Global Change Limited and a speaker at the ICO conference. 'We know these issues are complex but they have to be solved. The oil i"
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