Fair Trade

Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach to empowering developing country producers and promoting sustainability.: Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach to empowering developing country producers and promoting sustainability. Products are certified as fair trade, under guidelines developed by FLO, and administered in the USA by Transfair. It’s benefit is that it is a global effort, coordinated by third-party certifiers. The problems are that it does not include the quality of the product, i.e. the taste of the coffee, as part of the certification. It applies only to products produced by co-operatives. It also does not mean that the cooperative member, the one who grew and picked your coffee, was paid according to any standard. It means the cooperative was paid a minimum price, and it is up to them to divide that among members fairly. In places I have been I have seen electricity brought in for coop members homes, schools built, clinics, etc. Great stuff! I have also seen extremely shabby conditions at FT coops, worse than private mills in the area. We support FT, while it is imperfect, and institute our own Direct Trade program in places we work with farmers, mills, and coops. In this case, we know what the farm was paid at the gate, and we always pay higher that FT, often by 50%, 100%, or more.

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