Dr José Ramos-Horta with Federal MP for Page Janelle Saffin, right, and Bill Sheaffe, behind left, from Caddies Cafe in Lismore getting ready to sample local coffees.
Dr José Ramos-Horta with Federal MP for Page Janelle Saffin, right, and Bill Sheaffe, behind left, from Caddies Cafe in Lismore getting ready to sample local coffees. Jacklyn Wagner

President given honorary doctorate

IT’S for our own good, of course, that Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta wants Northern Rivers residents to stop drinking Australian coffee and switch to the East Timor drop.

Standing in Caddies cafe at Lismore this morning, after taking a brisk stroll through the city with Page MP Janelle Saffin and a horde of minders and media, Dr Ramos-Horta urged people to drink Timorese coffee.

“I’ve heard some people got sick drinking Australian coffee,” he joked.

“The local media have a responsibility to let people know in this area to not drink local coffee, but to drink Timor coffee – you get sick by drinking Australian coffee.”

Dr Ramos-Horta might have had his tongue in his cheek – and might have an entirely different opinion after sampling Zentfelds, Cockatoo Ridge or any of our other local beans – but he’s quite serious about wanting Australians to drink more Timorese coffee.

Dr David Lloyd of Southern Cross University’s School of Environmental Science and Management later said about 90 per cent of East Timor’s income – excluding income from petroleum ventures – came from its coffee industry.

Timor’s coffee beans were grown without the use of chemicals and the plants made up the understorey of forests, making the indusrtry important for the small nation’s environment as well as for its economy.

Dr Lloyd said East Timor had a reputation for growing some of the best coffee in the world, but some of the farmers were paid as little as 30 cents per kilo for their crops. At market, that price rose to a still low $1.50.

Dr Lloyd said his team from Southern Cross University were working with producers in Timor to get that price up to $10 per kilo.

Dr Ramos-Horta, was also made an Honorary Doctor of Southern Cross University at a ceremony held at the Lismore campus today.

The award to Dr Ramos-Horta, in recognition of his significant contribution to international human rights, was conferred by the University Chancellor, The Hon John Dowd AO QC.

The MC for the ceremony was Janelle Saffin, Federal Member for Page and University council member.
 



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