Why Fair-Trade Coffee?

Hard-working coffee farmers

Hard-working coffee farmers

Life isn’t easy for coffee farmers. The C price (commodity coffee index price) is at the lowest level in decades, and for many farmers this means their actual cost of producing coffee is higher than the prices they receive at market. Obviously this is unsustainable from a business standpoint, and unconscionable from a humanity standpoint.

Issues of food insecurity among coffee workers are widespread and well-documented. The Specialty Coffee Association white paper entitled “Food Security and Coffee: Ending Seasonal Hunger” summarizes the problem by saying:

“Hunger takes an enormous toll on the world’s coffee growers. Food insecurity in coffee-producing communities is inconsistent with the specialty coffee industry’s commitment to sustainable livelihoods and threatens the viability of the specialty coffee industry for the future. While hunger and food insecurity are complicated issues, there are immediate opportunities for all stakeholders in the specialty coffee industry to get involved and take action to help end hunger in the coffeelands.”

Fair Trade organizations create trading partnerships that are based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. These partnerships contribute to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to coffee bean farmers.

Fair trade organizations are engaged actively in supporting producers and sustainable environmental farming practices. Fair trade practices prohibit child or forced labor.

Fair Trade practices alone cannot solve the problem of food insecurity among coffee producers, but it’s an important tool among many to ensure that fair, equitable wages are paid to the people who support our industry literally from the ground up. Support and ask for Fair Trade Coffees from your café or coffee retailer.