On 13 February Raúl del Aguila of COCLA, one of Peru’s largest coffee cooperatives, passed away whilst attending a trade fair in Germany. As well as being General Manager of COCLA and representing its 7000+ small coffee producers, Raúl also served on the Boards of Cafédirect, and the Coordinator of Fairtrade Latin America and the Caribbean (CLAC). Raúl was a leading figure in the Fairtrade movement and always spoke with knowledge and passion about the issues at hand.
However, for me he was a personal friend and inspiration. I worked closely with Raúl on the Board of Cafédirect for six years and during that time as well as being inspired by his passion and commitment I found Raúl to be a warm, generous and humorous man. We would quite often sit together at dinner and chat, and I never regretted more that my Spanish was not a little better.
Raúl was a great influence in the setting up of Bean & Bud, whilst we wanted to focus on quality, we also really wanted to source all our products as ethically as possible. In coffee terms, that includes working with roasters who themselves work directly with producers and pay a fair price whilst also developing personal relationships based on quality products and adding value at source.
There is a link below to a tribute page to Raúl which will in time be printed out and sent to his family and colleagues.