On Friday, Economics and Business students attended a Fairtrade lecture provided by the Bexhill Fairtrade Town Group. Our students had the privilege of listening to Mahyana Sari, a coffee producer and Secretary of Arinagata Cooperative, Indonesia. Mahyana described how coffee is produced, what life and business was like before gaining Fairtrade accreditation. She then went on to explain how the receipt of the Fairtrade premium payment has allowed for investment in infrastructure and improved living conditions in the local community.
Archie Lindsay, a first year Economics student asked Mahyana why only some Indonesian coffee producers choose to obtain Fairtrade accreditation when the benefits appear so apparent.
After Mahyana had explained that it was a matter of demand, Jack Doherty of Bexhill Fairtrade Town Group urged the audience to consider choosing Fairtrade products over non-Fairtrade goods. Holding up a jar of Fairtrade coffee, he suggested that it was not simply a product to be consumed but rather a passport towards improved living standards for the people responsible for providing our groceries.
Matthew Andrews, another first year Economics student, asked Mahyana about working conditions in the coffee industry in Indonesia.
She explained that the work is divided into male and female roles, with the women picking the fruit from the bushes and the men transporting the loads to the processing units. Mahyana described how the Fairtrade price and Fairtrade premium alleviates the pressure of considering having children work in the industry, a practice that is an unfortunate reality in the agricultural sector around the world.
Andy Pritchard, Head of Section for Politics, Economics, Business & Law commented on the value of Jack and Mahyana’s presentation:
“The opportunity for our students to gain an insight into the theory of Development Economics through the personal experience of Mahyana was extremely valuable. Both Mahyana and Jack encouraged our students to make conscious purchasing decisions and inspired them to become the change agents of the future.”
This event is the latest in the rewarding enrichment programme students at Bexhill 6th Form College receive. The next event takes place on Wednesday; 120 Economics & Business students have made it through to the 2nd round of the Institute for Chartered Accountants for England & Wales’ national Business, Accounting & Skills competition.