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Oxfam renews call to reform International Coffee Agreement

By Oxfam

LONDON -- As an International Coffee Organization working group met today in London to begin reviewing draft proposals for the next International Coffee Agreement, the international relief and development organization Oxfam has issued a paper renewing its call the ICO to implement reforms that would create a more sustainable, participatory and equitable coffee supply chain.

"Seeking Common Grounds" builds on policy proposals first made in May, 2006 by Oxfam and 12 coffee-producing and civil society organizations from around the globe. The overarching themes of those reforms include enhancing participation by small-scale coffee farmers in the international debate; promoting economic, social, and environmental sustainability; and providing tools for small-scale farmers to compete in challenging and changing markets.

The new Oxfam report notes that while "the price of coffee has improved since its 2001 crash, many small-scale farmers and farmworkers lack the resources to take advantage of the improved market conditions and remain vulnerable to the boom and bust cycles of the coffee market. Far from an occasion for complacency, the current debate on the future of the ICA should be an opportunity to affect urgently needed changes."

The working group is scheduled to meet again in March, and will present its final recommendations in May, 2007.

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