Many of us start the day with a cup of coffee (ok, maybe more than one…).
But with our morning lattes relying on the hard work of more than 25 million smallholder farmers around the world, we should also spare a thought for what goes into growing those delicious beans.
Here are six important reasons to choose Fairtrade on International Coffee Day – and every day!
It tastes great.
Think you have to sacrifice quality for fairness? Think again! At a competition last year in Kenya, four out of the top 10 coffees were Fairtrade certified. More than half of Fairtrade coffee sold is also certified organic. Fairtrade’s regional producer networks are training farmers how to continue improving their quality, and also how to market it successfully.
The Fairtrade Minimum Price is a safety net for farmers facing plunging coffee prices.
The global market price for arabica coffee fell to a 12-year low last year, to below US$1 per pound. That’s well below the cost of production for many farmers, and means families are struggling to survive. One study found that two thirds of coffee farmers in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico experience three to eight ‘thin months’ of extreme food scarcity from when their earnings run out to the beginning of the next harvest season. Unable to make a living, coffee farmers are making the difficult choice to migrate to cities or abroad.
The Fairtrade Minimum Price guarantees that farmer cooperatives earn at least $1.40 per pound (or $1.70 for organic), plus the additional Fairtrade Premium of 20 cents per pound that they decide for themselves how to invest. Together that’s 65 percent more than the average market price of $0.97 cents per pound over the first six months of this year.
This isn’t the first time prices have plunged. Coffee prices are highly volatile, making it impossible for farmers to plan. Fairtrade’s Minimum Price is a source of security, protecting farmers when market prices dip too low, and allowing them to earn more when the market price is higher. In fact, the chart below shows that the Fairtrade Minimum Price has been in effect for approximately 20 out of the past 30 years. That’s two decades of a crucial safety net, which is now more important than ever with higher farming costs and other economic, social and environmental challenges.
The remaining reasons can be read here.