Organic and Fair Trade Certifications Emerging in the Coffee Market

January 1, 2001 by Gregory Gough

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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