Fair Trade Coffee – Brewing Social Conscience
Picture thousands of farmers and labourers toiling away for hours each day doing back-breaking work tending acres and acres of coffee plants, picking ripe coffee beans. They are working hard for an honest wage, and then come the middlemen for the coffee industry offering to purchase their coffee at a loss. This move pads their own cut before selling to big companies while the people who provide the physical labour get stiffed.
Fair Trade Coffee is a new socially conscious program which links the coffee grower and the consumer in a more direct and significant way. Basically, a lot of the middlemen are bypassed so that the coffee grower reaps more direct benefits from his crop.
Looking Further into Fair Trade Coffee
Coffee is one of the most popular products in the world and is in fact important to the global market, yet the coffee growers and their workers often make very little money. The middlemen who buy the crop from farmers and then re-sell it often dictate the price, by-passing the workers in favour of higher profits for themselves. Many farmers sell their coffee crop at a loss and end up living in poverty.
With Fair Trade Coffee, farmers are ensured a fair price for their coffee. The Fair Trade Coffee program guarantees the farmers participating in the global fair trade organizations a decent minimum price per pound of coffee regardless of whether or not the market dips lower than that minimum. Of course, if the market is doing well, the price per pound rises, meaning more money for them.
The guaranteed minimum price is a godsend for many of these farmers and field workers who spend countless backbreaking hours just so that citizens around the world can indulge in their daily coffee habit. The fair prices these people reap for their crop allows them to lift themselves out of poverty and invest in healthcare, schooling and even gain financial independence. This positive social movement is a much needed investment in the global community.
Fair Trade Coffee Positive Trends
The social conscience of citizens around the world is slowly awakening and one of the first positive movements has been the idea of fair trade. And because coffee is second only to oil in top commodities around the world, many people looked to why the farmers are living in poverty, given the popularity of the product.
The unfair prices middlemen paid to these farmers is a thing of the past for those who joined up with Fair Trade Coffee cooperatives around the world. Now there is an entity that is ensuring that a fair price is paid to these hard working farmers and labourers in the coffee industry.
More and more licensing agreements all over the world are being signed as companies are recognizing the need to appear more socially conscious. As the United States consumes 20% of the world coffee alone, there has been a huge boon in participation in Fair Trade Coffee.
This group is an environmental movement as well. Fair trade helps the smaller farmers play in the coffee big leagues and still be competitive. That means they are able to plow some profits into upgrades as well as pesticides and chemicals to keep their coffee plants infestation free. In addition, they can experiment with organically grown coffee and invest in more gourmet coffee plants, keeping their competitive edge in a volatile market.
It is a win-win situation for all those involved in Fair Trade Coffee. If you wish to play a part in this socially conscious movement, you will have to look for stores, websites and catalogs that sell Fair Trade Coffee. The products produced under this practice will be clearly marked for easy identification. So each time you brew a pot of coffee, you are contributing to the improved quality of life of these cooperative coffee growers and workers.