Coffee

Valentin Chinchay, member of FAPECAFES, a Fairtrade Certified Coffee Producer Organization in Ecuador

There are about 25 million coffee farmers around the world and all remember the last coffee crisis. Almost overnight, international prices crashed. Hundered of thousands of farmers from the rainforest of Peru to the steep slopes of Kilimanjaro were forced out of business. It was yet another reminder of just how vulnerable coffee farmers are to the volatile international market and its wildly fluctuating prices.

For instance, in October 2001, during the worst of the world coffee price, a coffee producer was receiving on average 45 US$ cents per pound of coffee. By selling to Fairtrade buyers this same producer was receiving a minimum of US$ 121 cents (76 cents more per pound of coffee). It is important to keep in mind the volatile international coffee market and the wildly fluctuating prices of this primary commodity. It is in this difficult and unstable context that the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the Fairtrade Premium can make the most substantial difference to the lives of farmers.

“In 2001 and 2002, during the world coffee crises, our situation was
desperate. We received between 20 - 25 dollars per quintal (quintal = 100
pounds, 25 US$ per quintal = 0,25 US$/lb) ... many of the Ecuadorian
coffee producers left. We did not have any other choice but to abandon
the coffee culture”
explains Valentín Chinchay, a member of FAPECAFES, a Fairtrade Certified Coffee Cooperative in Ecuador. “We are currently selling 80 % of our total coffee production under Fairtrade terms. But more important than the higher prices is the stability that Fairtrade brings. We are not as vulnerable to market volatility as we used to be.”

Please click on the links below for comparisons between Fairtrade Minimum Prices and Market Prices:

Evolution Fairtrade coffee sales (in Metric tons)

Note: Decimals have been rounded up.

Where are the Fairtrade Coffee Producers?

At the end of 2006, FLO International worked with 241 coffee producer organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. If you want to find out where the Fairtrade Certified Coffee Producer Organizations are located, please check the database available on the FLO-CERT website.

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