Talking Coffee in El Salvador

25 October 2011

Nearly 400 coffee supply chain actors gathered in El Salvador in October for Sustainable Harvest’s annual Let’s Talk Coffee event. It was the first opportunity for open discussion between the global Fairtrade system and FTUSA representatives about the recent changes since FTUSA has left the global Fairtrade system. The panel provided answers to many questions and helped clear up unclear issues.

Panelists included

  • Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International (via video)
  • Paul Rice, Chief Executive of FTUSA
  • Merling Preza, President, CLAC (representing Latin American producers)
  • Kimberly Easson, Independent Consultant representing Fairtrade International (former staff at Fairtrade International, and previously at TransFair USA)
  • Miguel Zamora, Director of Producer Relations, FTUSA
  • Hughes Tshibemba, Director of Producer Relations, Fairtrade Canada

Both Fairtrade International and FTUSA underscored that there would be little to no negative impacts on Fairtrade producers selling into the US market. Rob and Kimberly highlighted Fairtrade International’s commitment to protect the global Fairtrade system that has been built over the years with the cooperation of many people and organizations. Kimberly also provided details of the ongoing transition plan for bringing the international FAIRTRADE Certification Mark to all of North America.

Participants at the event submitted 55 questions, many of which were answered during the panel. Additional questions that were submitted to the panelists will be answered online in the coming weeks.

Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International, recorded a video for the event explaining the changes. Download the full transcript here in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF). You can also see video from the panel discussion here.


Fairtrade International has continued to help producers as they get ready for the upcoming harvest season. Most recently Fairtrade International partnered with the World Bank and Fair Trade USA to provide training in risk management for producers in Colombia. Fairtrade International also has partnered with Twin Trading to provide training for over 70 percent of cooperatives in Bolivia and 50% of cooperatives in Peru. Additional trainings are planned for other organizations as well. Read more about our efforts in coffee here

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