Fairtrade in the Pacific – a story from Timor-Leste

In Timor-Leste, about 30% of the population live below the poverty line of US 88 cents per day. The vast majority of women (70%) deliver their babies at home without any skilled help or healthcare after the birth, and infant mortality rates are high.  

To help address this, CCT Cooperative in Timor-Leste has built seven health clinics (like the one pictured below at Glenco) to meet the needs of the farming families and their communities. This includes providing services for pregnant women. In 2021, CCT  used 40% of their Fairtrade Premium to run these clinics – as well as another 26 mobile clinics which provide weekly health services for communities in remote areas.  

CCT also uses their Fairtrade Premium to run and maintain the industrial equipment and machinery used by this large cooperative to ensure that coffee quality and supply is uninterrupted.

This machine is an industrial coffee pulper. It is older technology from India but the simplicity suits the needs of CCT. It uses a rough disc to pulp the coffee and then water is added so that the cherries can be sorted by density. Once sorted, the beans are fermented for 28 hours, washed and then dried in these large fields where they are covered in tarps overnight to protect them from the moisture of the night air.

While they are drying in the fields during the day, they are stirred every one to two hours so that the beans are bought to the 11% moisture level that is required for premium coffee. The harvest season generates huge employment opportunities for people in the area which also helps to address some of the ongoing poverty issues. 

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