Fair Trade Coffee

by Russ Roberts on April 15, 2004

in Prices

The Christian Science Monitor reports that small coffee farmers are feeling the heat from larger farmers elbowing into the cachet of fair trade coffee:

But as the movement has expanded in recent years to include such brands as Starbucks, Green Mountain, Procter & Gamble, and Dunkin’ Donuts, dissension is percolating among some smaller roasters. They claim that the large firms, which buy only a small percentage of fair-trade beans, are turning it into a marketing ploy rather than an effort to help farmers.

Here’s my favorite part:

Another sticking point inside the movement are the requirements for being certified. Germany’s Fair Labeling Organization (FLO), which certifies all fair-trade coffee in the world, charges farmers $2,431 to certify plus an annual base of $607 for recertification and $.02 per 2.2 pounds of coffee sold under the fair-trade label.

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