Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fair Trade Research

Fair Trade offers sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers especially in the South.

The United Nations estimates that a person needs at least four dollars a day, about 1500 a year, to live a basic and decent life...of the 6.5 billion people in the world today, four billion people do not live a decent life. The four billion impoverished people live in rural villages, where they have limited access to social services such as health care, education, water, electricity and transportation.

Fair Trade seeks to remove exploitative middlemen and to establish roles that provide producers the means and mechanisms to exert more power and receive more equitable portions of value.

Without organic systems and standards, farmers wear out the very resource on which they depend on for there livelihood, their land.

Fair Trade Criteria paying a fair wage in the local context, offering employees opportunities for advancement, providing equal employment opportunities for all people, particularly the most disadvantaged. Engaging in environmentally sustainable practice. Being open to public ac countably. Building long-term trade relationships. Providing healthy and safe working conditions. Provide financial and technical assistance to producers whenever possible.

The producer of a craft item or food product is paid a fair wage in the local economy where she or he is working.

The fair trade certified seal is often residing on a supermarket shelf alongside similar products with labels indicating environmentally or socially responsible standards or membership in groups such as IFAT. The Fair Trade certified seal can help customers make educated, value-based decisions.

As the political agenda of the Fair Trade movement sharpened in the 1970's, food items-especially coffee - began to surface as important products for poverty reduction and political action.

The Internet serves as a driving force in connecting fair traders through listervs, electronic mail and blogs.

The Fair Trade Resource Network (F.T.R.N.), a consumer awareness organization, encourages each American household to shift %5 of its' budget to purchases with fair trade organizations.

An estimated 20 million rural families depend on growing coffee throughout the world.

Today, coffee is grown in nearly eighty tropical and subtropical countries and is one of the most valuable items of international trade.

In 2004 more than 25 million acres- an area the size of Portugal - was used worldwide for coffee cultivation in order to satisfy the needs of hundreds of millions of coffee drinkers around the world.

The United States has the highest coffee consumption of any nation on the planet, drinking roughly one-fifth of the 17 billion pounds of coffee grown worldwide in 2004.

coffee, grown in tropical regions of the world must be carefully husbanded, then picked, removed from the cherries, dried, and then bagged before it is even ready to leave the producing country. It is consolidated and shipped, and later it is roasted, blended, distributed, and eventually ground and brewed.

during 1932 there was an uprising in El Salvador at a time when %90 of the nations economy rested on coffee, exploited laborers rose up against the coffee barons and their henchmen only to be brutally suppressed. In this matanza, some 25,000 peasants were slaughtered in a single week-a blood bath that silenced opposition to the coffee regime there for the next 50 years.

Vast inequalities exist between a middle-class North American, and the farmers, factory workers, and craftspeople around the world who make the middle class North Americans life possible.

"Take almost any mainstream branded product now and unfortunately behind it is a tale of merger, acquisition, brand hegemony, theft of intellectual property and assets, exploitation of natural resources, and market concentration." -Pauline Tiffen, former director of Twin Trading.

Fair Trade - while concerned with economic viability - does not focus on a profit motive at the expense of producer and the environment.

In 1994 the US coffee market awarded the more efficient Vietnamese coffee suppliers with trade and caused less efficient coffee bean farmers in many countries such as Brazil, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia not to be able to live off of their products, which at many times were priced below the cost of product, forcing many to quit the coffee bean production and move into slums in the Cities.

Middlemen exporters, often referred to as coffee "coyotes" purchase coffee directly from small farmer. They typically purchase the coffee below market price, keeping a high percentage for themselves.

Coffee importers provide credit to farmers to help them stay out of debt with coffee traders so they can develop long-lasting trade relationships. Small farmers included in the international Fair Trade Coffee Register are guaranteed a minimum of $1.26 per pound of coffee, the "fair trade price." from coffee importers.


The Coffee Book. Luttinger, Nina & Dicum, Gregory (c. 2006)
Fair Trade, Beginners Guides. DeCarlo, Jecqueline (c. 2007)
The World of Caffiene. Weinberg A, Bennet & Bealer K, Bonnie (c. 2001)
The Coffee-House, A Cultural History. Ellis, Markman (c. 2004)
Economics of Coffee. (http//en.wikipedia.org/wik/Economics_of_coffee)

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