Coffee traders in New Zealand have had to pay for coffee in the past, with some even going as far as buying the beans themselves.
But the latest revelations are putting pressure on the country’s farmers to change course and pay for the cost of growing coffee, rather than buying them.
The revelations come as a New Zealand Herald investigation revealed that one of the countrys biggest coffee farmers is now paying the price for the coffee industry’s shift to more expensive coffee.
In a statement to the Herald, the Coffee Trader Association said its decision was driven by the costs of production, and that it was unable to pay these costs in cash.
“The association is also aware that some farmers are paying their fair share in coffee production and it is disappointing that the association has been unable to make this a reality,” the statement read.
“However, we have recently decided to make the decision that we will no longer be producing coffees in our New Zealand Coffee Farm, as a cost saving measure.”
The Coffee Trader association said it paid farmers for their coffees.
It said the decision was taken due to the impact on farmers, who were being forced to make hard decisions to keep their businesses afloat.
But coffee trader Glen Houlihan, who works for the association, said it had a duty to make a fair and reasonable decision.
“We have to ensure that the farmers are getting what they paid for, and in doing that we have to make sure that we are not harming them or hurting their businesses, so that the costs are reasonable,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s fair for a business to be paid to produce coffees when they have to pay the price of a good that they’re getting.”
The association said the costs were borne by the farmers, not the industry.
“It’s not fair to have to subsidise a business and pay the cost, but we’re making a business choice, not just a decision about whether to make coffee,” Mr Houlithan said.
Mr Houli said he did not think the industry would change its stance.
“What the industry wants to do is to do more with their coffeemakers, and we’ve done that,” he told the Herald.
“They’re not going to go out and buy coffees and sell them to consumers, they’re not buying them, and they’re buying them from other farmers.”
Mr Houdan said he was disappointed by the association’s decision.
He said the trade group had been lobbying the government to set up a new coffee market to encourage more farmers to switch to higher-end coffees, and he hoped the decision would be reconsidered.
The Government has said it will consider changes to its rules for the trade.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said the Government was aware of the issue.
“While we recognise that the Coffee Association is making a difficult decision, it’s our job to listen to farmers and make sure they’re making the right choice for the future of the industry,” the spokesperson said.