OCFCU co-op, Ethiopia
Tadesse Meskela, for whom we named our second espresso blend, set up the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) in 1999 to try and make the international coffee trade work in the favour of local producers through higher, fairer and more consistent prices. The OCFCU has trading agreements through the fair trade system, making the trade face-to-face with the buyer, enabling honest and lasting relationships.
Peoples Coffee has been buying from OCFCU since 2006. During this time, we have been constantly impressed with the leadership and ambition of Tadesse Meskela and the OCFCU. The money going into the co-op goes a long way, and benefits so many people – something that simply wasn’t possible before the sale of their coffee through the fair trade mechanism.
“Fair trade has definitely helped our community. It has helped the school and it has improved our water supply. It has also made a big difference to the guaranteed price we get for our coffee. We don’t want your [aid] money. We simply want you to buy our coffee at a better and fair price so we can be independent.” – Workineh Heldaja, OCFCU member
Since the inception of the OCFCU, funds allocated through social premiums have been used to benefit thousands of people:
• Over 50 new water bores have been drilled, supplying innumerable people
• More than 50 schools have been built
• A co-op bank with 23 regional branches has been established for producers, also providing financial literacy advice
• 10 rural medical clinics have been constructed and medical equipment provided