Organic and Fair Trade Certifications Emerging in the Coffee Market

Posted by Gregory Gough on January 1, 2001

Both fair trade and organic coffee are making inroads into the global market. About 2% of coffee is fair trade (in 1996) and organic is about 3% in the United States and Europe.

With fair trade certification, coffee farmers band together into cooperatives and receive a set price for their coffee. The cooperatives must be democratically run and not practice discrimination.

Organic certification focuses on not using agrochemicals. Yields are typically lower than for standard sun-grown coffee, but not substantially so.

With much of the world's coffee grown on small plots by poor farmers, these certifications offer predictable prices and a break from costly agrochemicals.

This article summarizes the information in this scientific paper:

Rice, R. 2001. Noble goals and challenging terrain: Organic and fair trade coffee movements in the global marketplace. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 14: 39-66.

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