How Fairtrade coffee is changing lives

Photo: Rodney Dekker

Coffee is crucial to the overall economy of East Timor. It is currently the most important source of foreign exchange and serves as the primary source of income for some 44,000 families.  But for the members of Cooperativa Cafe Timor (CCT), the production of Fairtrade coffee is changing their lives one brew at a time.

CCT represents 23,000 farmer members, and the fair trade premium they’ve earned has supported a number of projects — including the Clinic Cafe Timor — a health program that truly demonstrates the extraordinary benefits of fair trade.

Historically, families who live in the remote mountain coffee growing districts of East Timor have been poorly serviced or isolated from mainstream health services. Thanks to fair trade, they now have access.

“I know the Fairtrade income that my colleagues and I generate through our sales of fresh, organic Arabica cherries is used to buy medicine for the Cooperativa Cafe Timor’s primary healthcare clinics. For that I am very grateful, as the clinic’s staff saved my wife’s life during the recent birth of my child.” — Alfonso Sarmento, CCT member.

Now, Clinic Cafe Timor is the largest provider of rural health care in the country serving 115,000 people in rural and coastal Timor.

“With the Fairtrade premium, the co-op has invested in a health care program that handles more than 18,000 cases each month. Its facilities include 10 fixed clinics and 24 mobile clinics that provide free services to coffee farmers and their families.” Sam Filiaci, advisor to CCT, East Timor.

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Photo: Rodrigo OrdonezOxfamAUS

Workers of Cooperativa Café Timor take a break outside the company’s dry processing plant in Dili, East Timor.

Photo: Rodrigo OrdonezOxfamAUS
Photo: Rodrigo OrdonezOxfamAUS

A worker watches over the machines that remove the husk and clean the coffee beans at the dry processing plant of Cooperativa Café Timor in Dili, East Timor.

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Photo: RodneyDekkerOxfamAUS

A worker poses with Oxfam Fair coffee and the raw product

Find out how Fairtrade chocolate makes a difference for the Kuapa Kookoo Cooperative.