Some really bad news today from the cup of excellence. Last year I was lucky enough to be on the jury for Bolivia and also bought at auction one of my favourite coffees of all time. Its sad that this has happened, and I do hope that its sorted soon. It brings home the politics involved in South American coffee and the massive part the drug growing in this region really effects the people.To give you an insight to the problems, the recent elections in Bolivia resulted in the elected president being in Favour of growing coca of which cocaine can be derived (with strong links of backing by these growers and the underworld involved in this). Uniquely Bolivia’s cup of excellence has been funded by USAID (us aid is the American aid agency that does a lot of good work in South America). USAID have withdrawn funding because of the new presidents stand. To me this is foolish as it just makes the farmer have to choose which can he get a better price for. Very sad
Here’s the press release.
We regret to inform you that we are postponing the Bolivia Cup of Excellence program until 2007. Given the present political uncertainly and some of the problems encountered in 2005 we all felt it would be in the best interest of both the Cup of Excellence program and the wonderful farmers of Bolivia to wait until we all were comfortable that the program could be successfully executed.
This postponement comes with sadness because we have met so many wonderful farmers and the quality of the coffees we discovered was so fantastic.
We are committed to helping Bolivia’s coffee producers become more sustainable and so we will spend some time during this year helping ACEB become a stronger supporter for exemplary coffee and laying the groundwork for a more effective Cup of Excellence program for the future.
Those of you who buy coffee from Bolivian farmers and would like help in this endeavor feel free to contact me or Sara and let us know.
We realize that many of you have already paid for samples and auction registration for Bolivia for 2006. We appreciate your support and will credit your account with this payment for your 2007 membership fees.
Thank you for your continued support