Kraft Annual Stockholder Meeting: Oxfam America Challenges Kraft to Take Leadership to Address the Global Coffee Crisis

EAST HANOVER, N.J.--()--April 22, 2003--As shareholders meet for Kraft's (KFT - NYSE) Annual General Meeting in East Hanover, New Jersey on April 22, demonstrators led by international humanitarian agency Oxfam will be rallying in countries around the world including Australia, Spain, England, the Netherlands and Germany. Protestors are demanding that Kraft, which retails coffee brands such as Maxwell House and Gevalia, give coffee farmers a fair deal. Kraft is one of the world's two largest coffee companies.

Oxfam representatives will pose questions directly to the CEOs at Kraft's Stockholder Meeting. Speaking for the 25 million coffee farming families devastated by the coffee crisis, Dessalgn Jena, Deputy Director of an Ethiopian coffee cooperative and Oxfam partner, will explain Kraft's role in the global crisis. He will speak for those affected by the coffee crisis including Honduran farmer Jose Daniel Chinchilla, who recently declared, "We need a fair price for our coffee. That's the solution. Right now, Kraft's profit is our loss."

Over the past three years, the price of coffee has fallen almost 50 percent; it now hovers near a 30-year low - far below the cost of production. The resulting humanitarian crisis in over 50 developing countries affects 25 million coffee growing families. Small farmers cannot afford to feed their families, send their children to school, purchase medicines, and stay on their land. In famine-stricken Ethiopia alone, export revenues from coffee slumped in a single year from $257m to $149m. In response, Oxfam supporters from all over the world in have sent over 50,000 emails to Kraft asking them to change their business practices.

Oxfam is asking Kraft to take a leadership in addressing the coffee crisis by making the following policy commitments:

-- Start to pay a decent price to coffee farmers by committing to buy 5% of Kraft's total coffee from Fair Trade Certified suppliers, within three years

-- Purchase only coffee that meets current International Coffee Organization (ICO) quality standards, defined by ICO Resolution 407, and an agreement to independent monitoring of this policy

-- Support and fund the outcomes of global initiatives that address the long-term structural causes of the coffee crisis and include participation of coffee-producing countries and smallholder farmers

Oxfam's research report, MUGGED: Poverty in Your Coffee Cup http://www.oxfamamerica.org/art3395.html?PHPSESSID= 369bf4b5a95185dbd563c653b2b2e144 , gives details on the global coffee crisis. Coffee is only one example of the way global markets are stacked against the poor. For more information on our global campaign aiming to make trade equitable, visit www.maketradefair.com.

Contacts

Oxfam
Anwyn Hurxthal, 703-836-2258
anwyn@buzzconnect.com
or
Oxfam
Simon Billenness, 617/596-6158

Contacts

Oxfam
Anwyn Hurxthal, 703-836-2258
anwyn@buzzconnect.com
or
Oxfam
Simon Billenness, 617/596-6158