Here’s the latest from EA – a travel report from our latest trip to East Africa

It really was an excellent trip and very encouraging on many levels. The most telling comment came form one of the farm managers one evening as we talked about trade and aid. We talked about the historical aid situation in Africa whereby an enormous amount of money has been spent on loans and charity, whilst simultaneously abusing the same countries in the way we trade with them. 

“Lots of money has been spent on projects, but no good price has been paid for coffee. If people would just pay well, trade well, and make long-term commitments to relationships, then let producers take care of themselves, their own school fees, their own housing and so on.”

There is so much truth in this and whilst it is often more complex, and initially needs a partnership of trade and aid together, there can be no doubt that a long-term sustainable route out of poverty has to be through trade and development (but done well, and done fairly).

We’re back! Well, actually we’ve been back for a while but with catch-up, Christmas and some holidays we’re only just getting round to updating everyone from our trip to East Africa.

We stayed at Machare Farm and witnessed again the excellent attention to detail when it comes to quality of coffee – and we’ve filmed a lot of the process too so hopefully a new film will be available online in the near future. But most impressive were some of the environmental projects and the increasing use of biodynamic farming – more labour intensive but using natural fertilisers, reducing waste water in irrigation, organic composting, and all indigenous tree-planting. All whilst preserving precious natural habitat for local wildlife.

Whilst the quality and environmental care of Machare was awesome, the most exciting and encouraging part of the trip had to be in the villages. On arrival at Orera we were greeted by the elders along with singing and dancing (Ian felt obliged to join in which was not a pretty sight!) We had the real privilege to see the projects we have been supporting, and to officially open the new community-owned CPU. Ian had to climb the roof to hammer in the final nail, drink the ceremonial banana beer (!) and cut the ribbon.

We also got to return to the small village of Manoshi to renew business with them too. The photos hopefully tell the story, but for those who’d like to know more please call as we have plenty of stories to tell!

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