Some of the most significant issues in the coffee industry are price fluctuations and unreliable incomes. Supply and demand determine prices rather than the cost of production, particularly for commodity-grade coffee. Because corporations do not account for production costs, farmers risk losing their farms if the demand is too low.
To potentially improve their incomes, coffee farmers can tap into the specialty-grade market. However, specialty-grade coffee requires costly investments and more resources that can be unfeasible to afford. Also, there is no guarantee that their profits will match that of the time, money, and effort put into growing high-quality beans.
Large corporations will only produce better coffee with a price incentive, and consumers want to pay the lowest prices for the best product. While prices have recently increased, profits typically go to the importer rather than the producer.
Corporations need to pay coffee farmers higher wages to improve their production processes and make a comfortable living. They need your help. By purchasing high-quality coffee beans, you can vastly improve their lives.
Fairtrade Certified Coffee
The easiest way to guarantee support is by buying Fairtrade coffee. Fairtrade certified coffee beans are grown following rigorous standards. These standards ensure the wellbeing of coffee farmers, farming communities, and the environment.
Each farmer earns approximately $1.40 per pound of coffee sold, a price far higher than regular coffee. They make a Minimum Price, which does not change even when prices drop, and it covers the cost of maintaining sustainable production. Additionally, farmers get the Fairtrade Premium to invest in community projects, helping their businesses and the environment.
However, the Fairtrade movement comes with some flaws. Due to their strict standards, not all farmers can get certified.
One of the most significant factors requires belonging to a local cooperative. The money from purchasing each pound goes directly to the cooperative, who distributes the funding amongst the farmers. Not all farmers have access to a collective, and not all farmers can source the funds to initiate their own.
Furthermore, the Fairtrade movement receives much criticism over a variety of claims. The strict standards leave many farmers out, and other producers and corporations seek to evade the rules to profit. Fairtrade markets fail to sell all qualified products, leaving many farmers out in the dark. Also, some consider the increased farmer profits to be still too low. In Fairtrade’s defense, farmers receive enough to keep their land and earn long-term income.
What About Other Small-Scale Coffee Farmers?
Since not all small-scale coffee farmers have the option to become Fairtrade certified, they require other means of support. So how can you support these coffee farmers?
You can help by purchasing high-quality beans, such as single-origin coffee. Yogi’s Coffee single-origin coffee comes from small farms in South America and Africa, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. The beans undergo natural, sustainable processes, often hand washed and sun-dried.
Our coffee is fresh roasted and delicious. We focus on eco-friendly, inclusive sources for all of our products, and we sell them at extremely affordable prices.
Purchasing high-quality, single-origin coffee puts pressure on corporations to pay more to farmers who produce excellent coffee. It guarantees a financial incentive to improve growing and processing practices, meaning importers will have to pay farmers more money.
Be the Change
When you drink a cup of Fairtrade or high-quality, fresh coffee, you help a small coffee farmer support their community, maintain their farm, and protect the environment. If enough people make the change, we can revolutionize the coffee industry.