Fair trade is good news
One answer for small-scale farmers is fair trade. Fair trade shares the bounty of the coffee trade with those who grow the crop, helping them build a better future for themselves and their communities. Through fair trade, farmers earn a fairer share of income, have access to services that are otherwise unavailable and gain long-term trading partners they can trust.
By working together and pooling their resources to form a cooperative, farmers can sell their coffee directly to international buyers without relying on middlemen. They receive a fair price that not only covers their costs of production but guarantees a fair wage for their labors.
Fair trade far surpasses the temporary assistance provided to farmers through charity. Instead, the ongoing business of long-term, fair trade relationships consistently contributes to the living conditions of farmers, their families and their communities. Cooperatives use profits from fair trade coffee sales to establish community development or improvement programs such as schools, health clinics and training in areas such as leadership development. Fair trade farmers tend to use environmentally friendly growing practices — such as organic farming, composting and shade growing (interspersing coffee trees among other plants) — all of which benefit the farmers, the land and the quality of the coffee.