Fair Trade Coffee - A Better Price For Everyone?

fair trade coffee

Ever tried Fair Trade coffee? I did. You won't taste any difference, but there is a whole world of difference in the way it is brought to your local grocery store.

Fair trade is a trading partnership whose goal is to improve the marginalized farmers and producers of the economy to a better economic condition.

It is basically a social movement backed by consumers, and the products under fair trade are sold according to the principles laid down by this policy.

It is often seen, that the producers of goods like cocoa, sugar, tea, beans, handicrafts, honey, wine, cotton, etc work under deplorable conditions, and it is actually the middlemen and traders who carry away the maximum profit. Hence, the former is left with minimal income.

Coffee is one of the most important items of production to be included under the Fair Trade System. The consumers of coffee hardly know that the working conditions of those manual laborers who work in the coffee field is less than human.

To distribute Fair Trade certified coffee, the producer must pay a minimum price of $1.26 and the minimum working conditions for the farmers.

Coffee Price Drop

Director of a Fair Trade Coffee Cooperation in Guatemala, Jeronimo Bollen says that the recent drop in price of coffee has resulted in worsening the conditions of the field workers.

However, coffee trading companies haven’t reduced their selling prices and are enjoying super normal profit at the cost of millions of poverty-stricken workers in the Latin American states. Hence, there is a need to follow the Fair Trade policy in case of coffee production.

When Procter & Gamble decided to adopt the Fair Trade policy in September 2003, millions of impoverished coffee plantation workers were relieved of their economic burden. Their coffee will help to fill in the discrepancy of the fall in coffee price and the resulting poverty of the farmers.

On the contrary, companies like Starbucks have not reduced the coffee price at their outlets. Their profit margin is increasing due to the reduced coffee price.

The only way to help in this case is to demand Fair Trade coffee at all the outlets. If customers demand it, they will be forced to serve Fair Trade certified coffee.

Some effective ways to exercise Fair Trade Policies is to bring the producers of the ground level directly into the market instead of trading through middlemen. In this way, the traders don’t eat into the producers’ profit.

Traders and distributors should make sure that the conditions under which laborers work is satisfactory, and that their wages are well above the minimum level, enough to sustain their family.

Support Fair Trade

Consumers should be made aware to demand only fair trade products. This will act as support to spread the fairness of trade more effectively.

Some of the important Fair Trade Studies of coffee include "The Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability and Survival", "One Cup at a Time: Poverty Alleviation and Fair Trade coffee in Latin America" and "Confronting the Coffee Crisis: Can Fair Trade, Organic, and Specialty Coffees Reduce".

Oxfam America helps the farmers who need economic sustenance in spite of fluctuations in World Trade prices.

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