Coffee bean producers

Visiting fair trade coffee bean producers

Visiting fair trade coffee bean producers

Aeon has established general compliance standards (AEON Supplier Code of Conduct) not only for the quality of Topvalu products, but also for the rights and safety of the workers and the environment. We request all contract manufacturers inside and outside the country to abide by the code and check to make sure that they do.​ ​
For this reason, in fair trade, the purpose of which is to support ingredient producers, we believe it is necessary to ensure that the rights and safety of the workers are being protected at producer cooperatives in the same way.​ ​
When visiting the producers on this trip, a checklist was used to check AEON Supplier Code of Conduct requirements, confirm that FLO certification was maintained, and that premium payments were being used effectively.

Fedecocagua, Republic of Guatemala

Member producer alliance – A visit to Codepa

Meet the Producers

Antioquia Producers Cooperative, Republic of Colombia

Visit to Ebejico member producer alliance

Complete repairs of the coffee bean pulp removal machine

Pesticide training by staff from Antioquia

Meet the Producers

Kagera Producers Cooperative, Republic of Tanzania

Tanzania is located on the east coast of the African continent. After achieving independence in 1961, the country's economy declined due to war with Rwanda and the effects of a drought, leading to one of the highest rates of poverty in the world at over 30%.​ ​
Although a route from Japan via Dubai or Doha will take you to Tanzania, we passed through Abu Dhabi and Nairobi on this trip. The Kagera Co-Operative Union (KCU) located on the western shore of Lake Victoria in Kagera province, close to the Rwandan border, comprises 125 unions with a collection of over 60,000 producers. The main initiative of the union entails providing support for organic cultivation. KCU is actually the first cooperative in Tanzania to export organic coffee. They aim to support the production of high-quality coffee and the lives of the producers to satisfy customers and further increase income.​ ​
We interviewed four managing members of KCU and checked documentation.​ ​
The Kagera producers cooperative has an established set of staff regulations with a minimum hiring age of 18, and legally-mandated age of 15 for temporary work.​ ​
Because women hold a lower place in Tanzanian society, the cooperative is working on training female leaders. Of the 125 unions, 15% of the leaders are female, and one of the seven chairpersons is female.​ ​
They also have their own environmental management policy with the goal of reducing the amount of pesticides and the goal of using organic farming methods. A KCU agricultural advisor provides instruction on the use and spread pesticides, however, they are almost never used anymore and the cooperative is close to adopting organic cultivation methods.

Use of fair trade premium payments are decided by majority vote among three union members (total of 375 people) at a conference. Even distribution of the payments is decided annually by either the shipment volume or the number of unions. This year it was distributed based on the number of unions. The remainder of the payment is distributed evenly to each union after subtracting fair trade training and training location repair fees, which each union gives back to the community.

Member producer alliance – A visit to Kagege

Together with staff from Kagera, we visited Kagege, one of the 125 unions. Kagege consists of 250 people, and is run based on Kagera regulations. Injuries and sickness are taken care of by dividing the cost between the union and individuals and paying into the social insurance fund.​ ​
Many producers gathered together in line with our visit.​ ​
They are currently formulating their own environmental management policy with the goal of reducing the amount of pesticides and aiming for organic farming methods, similar to Kagera.​ ​
Fair trade is understood by all, and they knew that they would be audited in 2012 as well.​ ​
The fair trade premium payment for the current year is scheduled to be used for the installation of lightning rods at schools, health center operation and training costs.​ ​
In the past, premium payments have been used for the benefit of those in the community, such as free health checkups at the health center and repairs at Katoma Secondary School.

Kagera staff providing a lecture for the producers

In addition to communities with insufficient infrastructure, unstable governments, and poor safety, coffee bean producers are swayed by global market. The three unions we visited were small-scale operations formed by groups of producers, which in turn form even larger producer cooperatives.​ ​
Forming a large organization gives them a stronger competitive edge against outside sources, and establishes a framework for mutual aid.

The health center supported by premium payments and the repaired school house at Katoma Secondary School

This visit has helped us confirm that when customers purchase Topvalu fair trade coffee, fair trade premiums help the lives of the producers in some way.​ ​
We look forward to your further support of Topvalu fair trade products in the future.