There’s more to coffee than meets your tastebuds! This Coffee Day, we’re taking you on a photographic journey to Papua New Guinea to share the story behind the beans. When you savor Fairtrade coffee, you make a tangible difference for small-scale farmers around the globe. Check out our full list of certified coffees here.
Coffee may be the go-to drink for getting going, but many don’t understand the intricate process behind their daily cup – a process that begins well before the beans reach your grinder. The roasted coffee beans you know and love are popped out of jewel-red coffee cherries that are often grown by small-scale farmers in developing and least-developed nations.
Your coffee’s journey starts thousands of miles away, in parts of the world that are hot and humid – most often around the equator. Roughly 80% of the world’s production comes from small-scale farmers who cultivate their beans on small plots of land. Most specialty coffee is hand-harvested given the rugged terrain where coffee is grown and the fact that coffee cherries ripen unevenly. While Brazil, Indonesia and Colombia are the largest producers, around 70 countries grow coffee. Read more about coffee here.
One such country is Papua New Guinea, where small-scale farmers face problems similar to farmers across the world: most aren’t able to easily sell their coffee, and miss opportunities to get a fair price for their coffee.
Fairtrade works alongside farmers to unlock the potential of their businesses and to help farming cooperatives build thriving communities. Learn about what Fairtrade does here.
Fairtrade farmers in Papua New Guinea invest in their businesses, improve the quality of their coffee, and contribute to the community with schooling and healthcare investments (among many other things).
The photo at the top of this article shows the raised drying beds, which help farmers to produce more uniform coffee beans. The drying beds were funded with Fairtrade Premium—an extra sum of money that was provided to Neknasi Coffee Grower’s Cooperative Society, over and above the purchase price they receive for their coffee. Voting democratically in the cooperative, Neknasi farmers decided to invest in this equipment that allows them to work more efficiently and generate more income.
Margaret Kede (below) is a member of Neknasi Coffee Growers Cooperative Society and married with three children. Her coffee garden is in Bandong village. Through Neknasi and Fairtrade, Margaret and her family can sell their coffee at a fairer price and bring income into their community.
Women play an important role during the coffee harvesting season, particularly in determining coffee quality and consistency. The role of women is increasingly recognized in the community and they are participating in community and organizational decision-making, as well as holding roles which have been traditionally reserved for men.
Your morning coffee has made quite a journey from the farm to your cup. And with your first sip, it’s a great chance to reflect on that journey. With Fairtrade, you know that your beans are steeped in fairness at every step so you can drink easy this Coffee Day.
Find a selection of Fairtrade coffees here.
The photos in this blog from photojournalist Josh Griggs were provided by Fairtrade support staff in Papua New Guinea and Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand.A version of this article first appeared here.