International Fair Trade organisations are doing a great effort to provide a decent wage for small coffee farmers in developing countries.
Coffee is big business. All over the world, people consume coffee. Every day new coffee shops are established. A few big corporations make billions of dollars of profits a year, whereas more than 20 million traditional coffee farming families experience difficulties making the necessary profits and maintain their businesses. They can’t compete with the multinationals, therefore they often have to leave their home and have to work underpaid in a big coffee plantation.
The situation is getting worse. Due to falling coffee prices, the farmers earn even less. That’s why some farmers have to borrow money from agents, loans which they cannot repay. That’s why certain organisations, including Oxfam, are trying to find a way out of this misery for many local farmers, so that the global South gets equal chances to develop.The Fair Trade system guarantees a minimum wage of 1,26 USD per pound of coffee, so that farmers can meet their basic needs. In this system, everybody benefits, and so do the farmers. Of course, Fair Trade coffee is more expensive. But a recent survey indicates that 41% of Canadians would be more than willing to pay a little extra for Fair Trade coffee.