Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fair Trade

This is a little rant about all those bleeding hearts who worry about things like politically correct tea or coffee. You know, fair trade coffee, that costs 2 or 3 times the price of regular coffee and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside because you did the right thing. Here in Lotus Land ( British Columbia ), where every one and his dog is out to save the planet, 9 times out of 10 if you are at a public meeting on any community or environmental issue its a given the coffee is fair trade. Every one knows Juan Valdez and his donkey need all the help they can get as they receive but a few cents on a pound of coffee. The fact that a family of four down there can live on $5 a day seems to escape the average person here. Stats Canada has a family of four in Canada needing about $45,000/year or $123.29 / day.
I wonder if any one has worked out the return on investment for a Juan Valdez family coffee farm compared to the return on investment for a family ranch or grain farm in western Canada. I have the sneaky feeling that Juan see's a bigger return than our local boys. Of course its less dollars than ours ,but compared to his over all investment, a 5% to 20% RoI would not surprise me. Having graduated from the Ranching for Profit School ( yes, for real I have the certificate)I know that the average ranch in North America runs at a loss even in good years and most run on a plus or minus 2% RoI. Seems to me like the guys keeping your country side looking nice and producing all that local food for your consumption, well maybe they are the charitable ones. I enclosed a bumper sticker from England which kind of sums it up. We family farmers keep and protect the pastoral scenery you all to enjoy and for some reason that does not show up in our wallets, only the tourist's plugging our narrow roads!! So when you think of Juan Valdez and Fair Trade coffee, think about John Smith and ask why there isn't Fair Trade Beef, Pork, Lamb and Wheat. OK I'll get of my soapbox now.

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