A Cup of Justice. Coffee, Fair Trade, & Justice for Farmers in the Global South. Many Small Farm Families Depend on Coffee. Worldwide, 20 to 25 million small farm households, . some 125 million people, depend on coffee for their livelihoods. Nicaragua. Costa Rica. Ethiopia.
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Fair Trade, &
Justice for Farmers
Worldwide, 20 to 25 million small farm households,
some 125 million people, depend on coffee for their livelihoods.
Small coffee farmers receive 1% or less of the price of a cup of coffee sold in a coffee shop.
Ethiopian coffee farmer
The price farmers receive for their coffee is at a record low, just 25% of the price
Farmers try to offset the falling price by producing and selling even more. But this leads to even lower prices and earnings continue to fall.
Low coffee prices and small
mean they earn
too little for their
Exporters in coffee-producing
(usually poor) countries sell their
coffee to international buyers and
roasters. These large multinational firms seek to pay as little as possible.
Just three roasters (Nestle, Kraft/ Maxwell House, and Sara Lee) process 45% of the world’s coffee.
Just four companies
purchase 40% of the
San Cristobal de las Casas, Mex.
In Mexico, “as a result of the decline in farmers’ income, about 20% of children were taken out of school and [farmers] were unable to afford clothes, shoes, basic medical attention, and repayment of credit.”
-- Mexico: Coordinadora Nacional de Organizaciones Cafetaleras
Loss of Farms
Farmers can lose their land, forcing families to move to cities where living conditions may be inhumane and jobs are scarce.
Farmers may leave their country, seeking work elsewhere. Tens of thousands of Mexican coffee farmers have left their land,
leaving behind grievingfamilies and weakened communities. Somecome to the U.S. without documents.
Fair Trade, not “free” trade,
will improve the lives of
Fair-trade importers provide
a vital link between small farmers and consumers who seek justice for small coffee farmers.
Buy coffee grown
by small farmers organized into cooperatives (coops).
A cooperative (coop) is a business that is owned and democratically controlled by
Members, CIRSA Coop, Chiapas, Mex.
A coop operates for the benefit of its members. It does not earn profits for share-holders. It elects its own leadership and does
not answer to an outside board.
Coffee coop members, Nicaragua
Pay a fair price currently set at $1.21 a pound or pay the world price, whichever is higher; and
Pay a 5 cent per pound
“social premium;” and
If organic,pay an
additional 15 cents a pound.
The social premium of 5 cents per pound is paid to the coop, not to farmers.
Coop members decide how this money is to be used: for example, to
purchase neededequipment such as atruck to transport coffee, or to build a school or clinic.
Truck purchased by Mexican coop
Purchase coffee directly from farmer coops, eliminating many “middle men” and opportunities for exploitation, providing higher prices for farmers.
Warehouse, CIRSA Coop, Chiapas, Mex.
Better education, health, and opportunities due to the social premium payment.
Greater access to
credit for investment
and other needs.
opportunities such as
ment projects, schools,
clean water, and
Strengthened communities with less poverty, more stability, and healthier and more educated community members.
Certified fair-trade coops produce seven times more coffee than fair trade buyers purchase. They cannot sell all their coffee to fair trade purchasers.
So we need to expand sales of fairly traded coffee.
and a few
WATCH FOR & BUY PRODUCTS WITH THIS LABEL
There are a number of Fairly
Traded coffee traders and
Coffee, tea, and cocoa may
be purchased through the
UCC-Equal Exchange Coffee Project
Starbucks, Dunkin\' Donuts, Procter & Gamble, and other large corporations have also agreed to sell Fairly Traded coffee. However,
it is often unavailable
when they request it.
The Bottom Line:
Watch for the Fair
Trade Certified logo