New Deal For Fairtrade Coffee Farmers
New Year, New Deal For Fairtrade Coffee Farmers As Flo International Announces Rise In Fairtrade Coffee Prices
Fairtrade Coffee Farmers from around the world have been welcoming the news that Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) International, the only certification model that guarantees prices to farmers that meet strict social and environmental sustainability criteria, is announcing a global increase of the guaranteed minimum price for washed Arabica coffee to US $1.25 per pound, to take effect on 1 June 2008.
The coffee price adjustment, consisting of an average increase of USD 5 cents per pound, reflects Fairtrade's deep commitment to fair prices and sustainable livelihoods for family farmers, a cornerstone of its strategy for sustainable development and community empowerment. The adjustment will benefit more than 250 producer organizations in countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, representing almost 1 million small farmers and their families.
"I represent over one million people in Latin America who need the security of the Fairtrade minimum prices in order to continue living and working on their land with dignity," said Raúl del Águila, a Peruvian coffee farmer, President of the Latin American Fairtrade Producers Network (CLAC) and a FLO Board member. Águila added, "No other certification system but Fairtrade guarantees that small producers get a decent return for their hard work. Consumers can be certain that this increase will help uplift living standards and have a direct and positive impact on the lives of Fairtrade Certified coffee farmers around the world."
The Fairtrade minimum price for coffee is important because the international coffee market is highly volatile and characterised by wildly fluctuating prices. Frequently, such as in the 2000-05 period, international coffee prices plummeted to below USD 0.60 per pound, well below the cost of production, forcing literally millions of family farmers into poverty. In this difficult and unstable context, the Fairtrade price makes a substantial difference in the lives of farmers by ensuring greater price stability and a sustainable income.
According to Steve Knapp, Executive Director, Fair Trade Association Australia and New Zealand and FLO Board member, "The conscious consumer demands high-quality products that make a difference in the world. This moderate price increase in Fairtrade coffee will not undercut the dramatic growth of consumer demand for Fairtrade products; on the contrary, it gives concerned consumers additional evidence that Fairtrade truly delivers on its promise of farmer empowerment."
The review of the minimum price represents an achievement for all the stakeholders of the Fairtrade Labelling system. Farmers get a price which covers the cost of producing high-quality sustainable coffee. Sustainable production helps to ensure that high social and environmental standards are maintained and that producers have access to all the inputs and services they require to grow quality coffee. At the same time, the increase will also help ensure that Fairtrade coffee continues to be attractive to consumers and industry as well. "Fairtrade is good for farmers and good for our coffee business." commented Chris King, General Manager, Esquires Coffee Houses New Zealand. "Fairtrade strengthens our supply chain and gives farmers the resources they need to maintain an extremely high quality coffee. Quality is essential to ensuring long-term growth in consumer demand for Fairtrade. We support the price increase because it will maintain quality and help make the farmers stronger business partners."