Fair Trade Coffee

Written by Sarah Provost
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Fair Trade coffee is coffee imported by associate members of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). The avowed purpose of the Fair Trade Federation is to provide a living wage to farmers and artisans in economically disadvantaged countries. By doing so, they hope to break the cycle of poverty and provide a safer environment for workers.

Much of the world's coffee comes from small farmers who live in poorer countries. They often receive less for the coffee they grow than it cost them to produce it. In an attempt to raise their level of profitability, they frequently turn to pesticides and deforestation to try to increase their yield.

Fair Trade coffee growers are guaranteed a minimum wage and a minimum price for their product. In addition, Fair Trade coffee growers are put in contact with reputable distributors, which helps cut out exploitative middlemen and allows them to keep more of their earnings. The aim of Fair Trade organizations is to return up to 40 percent of the retail price of coffee and other commodities to the producers. The growers are also educated regarding organic methods of cultivation. Additionally, the FTF encourages processing and packaging operations to remain in the developing country to provide more employment.

Buying Fair Trade Coffee

By ensuring a fair price for small growers, the Fair Trade Federation imports coffee that costs slightly more than basic supermarket brands. It is one of their missions to educate consumers to spend a few more cents, since the cheaper coffee carries a surcharge in human suffering. To find catalogs or wholesalers offering Fair Trade coffee, visit the Fair Trade Federation's website.


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