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Fair Trade: The Coffee Route from the Yungas to Brittany

by Tugdual Ruellan -

Many consumers, when seeing the prices for, for example, “fair-trade coffee,” are skeptical about the reality of “improved conditions for the producers” in this trade. Here, therefore, is a book, for the curious and the skeptics, that gives us a detailed experience of what fair trade actually amounts to.

The adventure begins in 1993 when three Bretons rush, against all odds, into the fair-trade route: Guy Durand, then president of Max Havelaar France, Olivier Bernadas, coffee merchant, founder of the company Lobodis, and Yves Thébault, director of the center for aid through work in Bain-de-Bretagne (France).

Their challenge: to market quality coffee, certified organic, bought at a fair price from smallholders, processed in France by disabled workers.

The authors of the book, the journalist Tugdual Ruellan and the teacher Bernard Bruel, take the reader on the Bolivian coffee route, from the Yungas, through the port of Le Havre, to the French province of Brittany. A dangerous route, but full of hope… They become the producers’ spokesmen. They tell us the story of these companions and cooperative members who, thanks to fair trade, have been able to improve their living conditions and find pride in their work.

The book is in French and in Spanish and contains a CD of music recorded in Bolivia or offered by musicians. It is available at Éditions Rives d’Arz. The profits are reverted to the Bolivian cooperatives.

URL : www.alliance21.org/2003/article3479.html
PUBLICATION DATE: 1 October 2010