The Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, established in June 1999, is named after the Oromia region in Ethiopia. The men and women of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union are growers, processors and exporters of high quality, organic Arabica coffee. Nearly 103,000 farmers have organized into 115 cooperatives which are affiliated in the Oromia Union.
The 396 members of the Negele Gorbitu Cooperative produce our Ethiopian coffee. The Oromia Union buys the coffee from the growers in the Cooperative, and sells it directly to overseas buyers. 70% of Oromia's profit goes back directly to the farmers, and the extra Fairtrade Premium you pay goes back to the Cooperative for community benefit. In recent years Negele Gorbitu has built a new clinic and a school for 300 children from these funds.
The other 30 percent of the Union's profits are used for expansion of capacity building assets, for reserves against poor harvest years, and for community development.
Farmers are not required to sell their coffee to the Cooperative Union. Thus, the success of the Union depends on a fair price to the farmer-members for their coffee.
Another way the Union shows its support for the farmers is by undertaking community improvement projects. In the past year four new schools were constructed as well as three health centres and two clean water supplies. By working together, farmer-members are able to pool their resources. This democratic system benefits individual farmers-members and their communities.
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New Internationalist supports Fair Trade producers like The Chetna Organic Cotton Project. Fair Trade promotes a fair wage and fair working conditions, encouraging developing world producers to help themselves.
A little about The Chetna Organic Cotton Project: Say NO to pesticides that poison three million people every year, and help make trade fairer at the same time.
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