Fairtrade Coffee - Fair Trade Organic Coffee

In many of the equatorial Third World economies, coffee is a leading crop with the main export markets being in the First World economies. Consequently, the world's trade in coffee has come under the close attention of people concerned about fair trade and exploitation issues.

Coffee has become a high volume commodity traded on world markets, comparable to the trade in minerals. Coffee prices have fluctuated as the balance of supply and demand shifted, as often happens in commodity markets. Speculation and futures markets trading in the coffee markets can be very sensitive to weather and growing conditions.

Prices paid to growers fell after the high levels reached in the late 1990s as production volumes increased, notably from the large additional contributions of Vietnam to coffee export volumes in recent years. This had an impact on the viability of coffee growing, and on employment in many coffee-growing regions, causing considerable hardship over a period of about five years. There has been some price recovery since 2005.

The low returns to Third World growers become a controversial issue in some quarters, with links to debates about world trade policies and whether they were fair. With the cost of the raw coffee beans being a small part of the cost of the cup of coffee bought in western countries, the price fluctuations experienced by growers had little impact on end users. This looks one-sided in its effects.

One market response from a number of coffee processors was to introduce "fair trade" coffee branding niches in recent years. These brands have become popular with a sector of western buyers concerned about the effects of coffee price fluctuations on Third World growers. The idea is that these processors will buy from selected growers at prices that allow them to be profitable, irrespective of the world coffee market's price fluctuations.

A related coffee branding strategy has been to appeal to the "organic" niche. One concern has been that coffee growing has become careless of environmental considerations in the quest for increased production volumes. Purchases for the organic brand niches have been tied to the adoption of organic or more natural growing practices, including less clear felling of land for coffee plantations and the retention of shade trees to encourage bird life. "Fair trade organic" branding has linked the issues, and found common ground in its appeal to a sector of western coffee buyers.

A related and increasingly common practice is also for some coffee processors to buy directly with coffee growers whose beans offer a premium quality and flavor, rather than have these beans sold through the general market. These processors gain from being able to offer distinctive premium coffee blends based on the unique properties of beans from these premium quality plantations. Both processor and grower gain from the long-term continuity of this trade arrangement.

Differentiating the products of individual growers or regions in these ways is a method for countering the commoditization of the coffee market.


Decaf Sumatra Fair Trade Organic Green or Roasted Coffee 1 to 15 lbs

Decaf Sumatra Fair Trade Organic Green or Roasted Coffee 1 to 15 lbs

Price: $12.99


5 lb Peru Approcassi Cajamarca Fair Trade Organic Shade Grown Green Coffee Beans

5 lb Peru Approcassi Cajamarca Fair Trade Organic Shade Grown Green Coffee Beans

Price: $26.90


5 10 15 lb Peru Approcassi Cajamarca Fair Trade Organic Shade Grown Coffee Beans

5 10 15 lb Peru Approcassi Cajamarca Fair Trade Organic Shade Grown Coffee Beans

Price: $26.90