Tony Addison of UNU-Wider, in Helsinki, just tweeted this photograph, expressing his pleasure at seeing Rwandan coffee at his favourite coffee shop, Roastery.
I retweeted it and within minutes, Josh Kariuki proudly tweeted that his neighbourhood Gachatha coffee, from Nyeri county in Kenya, was being sold far away in Helsinki, Finland, by name.
The next thing you know, the entire sustainable agricultural commodity value chain had collapsed between end customer and the shambas where it was grown. All it took was one tweet.
@prepaid_africa @TonysAngle Hey Tony, how much does a cup of coffee in that Helsinki restaurant cost? Our best paid farmers get $0.8/kilo
— Joshua (@joshkariuki) December 29, 2015
@joshkariuki @prepaid_africa Euro 4.20 ($4.60). Seems a lot, but then the cost of labour & rent is high. Kenya’s farmers deserve every cent! — Tony Addison (@TonysAngle) December 29, 2015
There’s a lot to be unpacked here, for those of you following along since the days I was in The Netherlands working on the sustainable agricultural value chain development project with the Dutch MFA. One of their deeply held desires had been that the end customer and the farmer should know who each other was, separated as they tended to be, by continents and seas.
The source of our familiar morning coffee is a mystery to most of us, and it changes the way we think about products and their pricing, not to mention the value we place on someone’s hard work, when we come face to face with the source. I appreciate this experience that social media offered me today and wanted to share it with you.