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You work for a fair trade company that specialises in coffee and tea. The company works with farmer cooperatives in East Africa and Central America, and is now considering expanding to South East Asia. Perhaps Vietnam (or another country of your choice, but not your home country). The senior management team needs to know what the possibilities are.
The company has sent you to the selected country for a three-month assessment period. You are now preparing for these three months. Please:
1. Gather key information about coffee farming in your selected country,
and summarise these basics in a single page. 2. On the basis of the information you gathered: identify a region that looks promising for your fair trade plans. Explain why you made this particular choice (and make sure this includes considerations related to poverty alleviation).
3. Develop a three-month action plan that covers the things you need to do and the way you will do them, explaining why, in order to be able to make a recommendation to the senior management of your company.
In relation to 1 (Key background information)
In as far as this information is available for your selected country the background information should include things such as:
Recent past and projected future volumes of trade, production costs and price trends etc for both fair trade (FT) and conventional coffee.
Overview of crop distribution (i.e. what crops are produced in which regions, by what sorts of producers) and existing FT initiatives (perhaps presented as maps, to identify un-served or under-served areas).
In relation to 2 (Justification of target area/s and population/s)
Identification and explanation of criteria for possible target area/s and population/s. For example, suitable coffee beans, soils/climate, expected cost price differentials, accessibility to market, existing
tradition of co-operative farmers organizations, existing production/producers, markets, market intermediaries and poverty profile of population, number of farmers (or plantation workers) that could benefit, land ownership structures etc Potential risks, limitations and uncertainties that might negatively affect the establishment of any proposed new fair trade programme or its development outcomes, including possible negative impacts, on the coffee growers and their families and on others
In relation to 3 (Three month action plan)
What would you have to do to add depth to the information provided under 1 and 2 above? In making your recommendations, you may decide to either recommend or not to recommend the involvement of your fair trade organisation in a new venture in your selected country. Alternatively, you may decide to recommend work to strengthen an existing initiative instead. Whatever the case, please make sure you explain the reasons justifying your chosen recommendation/s.
Example of a real feasibility study about organic and fair-trade cocoa in Vietnam
The feasibility study by Helvetas on Organic and Fairtrade Cocoa in Vietnam, accessible through the link below, provides a good example of the sort of thing we would like you all to aim for, although the 2000 word scoping study required from you will obviously be much more modest in terms of its scope and level of detail.