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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

What is behind a cup of fair trade coffee

Written by: Martha L. Del Río (CIAT)

Infographics by: Erika Mosquera (CIAT) and Martha L. Del Río (CIAT)

Traditionally, the Fairtrade certification system has been organized under a single global umbrella the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations, currently known as Fairtrade International. However in 2011, Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade International issued a joint statement announcing their separation. Fairtrade coffee certification has been limited to small producer organizations that could not compete in the conventional market. However, Fair Trade USA began to certify pilot coffee estates and independent smallholders with the aim of improving livelihoods and labor conditions of the most vulnerable farm workers and producers.

After the first year of the research project “Measuring and Assessing Impacts of Fair Trade for All on farmers, farmworkers and the overall fair trade Market System” we made infographics with the quantitative data collected of the baseline conditions in three of the four countries in which our research is located: Peru, Nicaragua and Honduras. The infographics summarize the current status of the four Fair Trade Principles: Empowerment, economic development, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship of the independent small producers and farm workers with the certification compared with non-certified small producers and farm workers.

To understand and identify how many changes will be generated by the new certification, the first step is to take an initial photo of these kinds of producers and farmworkers to identify similarities and differences with non-certified producers. These photos will better enable at the end of the assessment a more accurate and real attribution of the certification’s effects.

What happened with the certification in each country? How much was sold with the certification and how was the premium invested in each country?

La Revancha estate in Nicaragua sold two coffee containers with the Fair Trade Certification and the farm workers received a premium of approximately $16,000 which is being invested in: food and transportation of the Saturday Program for students that are relatives of La Revancha employees; loans for crops that affect food security; purchase of school supplies for children in primary and secondary school; food package programs to 21 elderly people; and pit latrines in the farmworkers’ house. This year they are negotiating two more containers with the certification.

Baseline Infographic in Nicaragua. Ilustration: Erika Mosquera (CIAT)

Baseline Infographic in Nicaragua. Ilustration: Erika Mosquera (CIAT) – Click into the image to enlarge the ilustration –

In the case of Honduras, the independent small producers through the Market Access Partner (BEO group) sold two containers with the Fair Trade Certification, but the premium will be invested beginning in 2016, in the following aspects: coffee production inputs, technical assistance, health insurance (agreement with private clinics) for households of farmers who have the certification, and educational support to the children of the certified producers (school supplies).

Baseline Infographic in Honduras. Ilustration: Erika Mosquera (CIAT) and Carolina Acevedo

Baseline Infographic in Honduras. Ilustration: Erika Mosquera (CIAT) and Carolina Acevedo – Click into the image to enlarge the ilustration –

In the case of Peru, the independent smallholders through the Market Access Partner (PROASSA) sold only a container with the Fair Trade Certification last year, and they received a premium of $8,366. This premium is invested in the following aspects: 60% of the premium is used for organic manure delivered to farmers who sold coffee with the certification; 20% for support for all certified producers; and 20% for social programs such as seed distribution programs for bio horticulture that aim to reduce infant malnutrition, and oral health kits for children, but these programs have not yet been defined.

Baseline Infographic in Peru. Ilustration: Erika Mosquera (CIAT)

Baseline Infographic in Peru. Ilustration: Erika Mosquera (CIAT) – Click into the image to enlarge the ilustration –

CIAT is already preparing for endline in Honduras, Peru, Nicaragua and Brazil during 2016.

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