When you choose Fairtrade coffee, not only can farmers build a better quality of   life for their families and communities, they can also invest in improving the quality of their coffee beans.

High price
paid for coffee

Coffee is how millions of us start our day and an estimated 1.6 billion cups of coffee are brewed every single day. Coffee is the most valuable and widely traded tropical agricultural product witharound 125 million people globally depend on it for their livelihoods. 80% of the world’s coffee is grown by small-scale farmers, many of whom struggle to earn a reliable living as a result of price volatility. The price of coffee changes every three minutes on average due to-weather events in a producing country,Fluctuations in currency valuations or Basic dynamics of supply and demand.

While the global coffee industry now generates more than $200 billion per year, the average farmer’s income has not changed in the past 20 years or has actually declined when taking into account higher farming costs. Farmers unable to meet their basic costs of production can’t invest in the necessary farm renovations or meticulous processing methods that can ensure a consistent supply of quality coffee, which further hurts their sales. Further, coffee farmers across the world including in India are facing heightened risks and reduced income due to the effects of climate change. This cycle of poverty is driving away both present and future generations of coffee farmers, a dynamic we need to address if coffee is to survive as a viable business.

Apart from the obvious economic implications of low prices for coffee farming families, there are significant ripple effects:

  • Increased child and forced labour
  • Decreased environmental stewardship
  • Food insecurity
  • Increasing rates of migration
  • Lower coffee quality

Fairtrade interventions related to Coffee

Fairtrade works with coffee farmers who’ve formed small producer organisations. As per the Fairtrade Standards, these farmer organisations create a local support mechanism that facilitate:

  • Access to markets

  • Access to finance

  • Knowledge sharing

  • Better resource management

  • Better risk management

Fairtrade making coffee better

Unlike some other coffee certifications, Fairtrade only certifies small-scale farmers, not industrial-scale plantations. Farmers work together in cooperatives which are organised democratically. This has many advantages: greater bargaining power, the ability to make joint purchases, easier access to finance, mutual learning, and information exchange.

The combination of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium means farmers earn a more stable and sustainable income, allowing them to maintain their businesses and households, and plan for the future. Fairtrade is the only global sustainability label that guarantees a minimum price for coffee. The minimum price acts as a safety net for farmers against price volatility. Fairtrade-certified coffee farmer organisations currently earn the Fairtrade Minimum Price of $1.40 per pound. On top of that, they earn $0.20 per pound in Fairtrade Premium, of which at least 25 percent is invested in productivity and quality initiatives. Farmer organisations invest the rest in projects of their choice, ranging from processing facilities to community healthcare.

Fairtrade’s strong economic, social and environmental Standards are a key factor in making value chains work for small farmers and workers, increasing transparency and accountability, and helping protect the most vulnerable against trade-related exploitation.

The Fairtrade Producer Networks offer direct support to farmers and workers through more than 150 field staff based in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Fairtrade supports coffee cooperatives through the Implementation of projects related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and improving sustainable agricultural practices.

The Producer Networks support programs to improve the position of women on coffee farms, including management training.

Producer Stories

Fair Trade Alliance Kerala

FTAK is a farmer-led movement based in Kerala’s Western Ghats to help farmers.

Brands that trade fair