Over 25 million people in the developing world depend on coffee farming to make a living. But the volatility of coffee prices makes it a very unreliable source of income for growers.
At times, coffee prices have fallen so low that growers have been unable to cover even their production costs, leaving many growers and their families suffering from malnutrition and often forced to abandon their family farms.
Internationally, Oxfam is working to help coffee farmers get a better deal – from technical help for coffee farmers, to lobbying for international reform of the coffee trade and encouraging consumers to buy Fairtrade coffee.
Just a few cents of the price we pay for a cup of coffee actually gets back to the coffee farmer. But there is a fairer way.
Fairtrade coffee: a stable income for farmers
Buying Fairtrade is a great way for shoppers like us to make a real difference to the lives of coffee farmers and their families. More and more coffee farmers are working their way out of poverty through Fairtrade.
By selling to the Fairtrade market, coffee farmers are guaranteed a fair, stable price so that they can always cover their production costs and meet their basic needs.
In addition, coffee producers receive a Fairtrade premium for investing in local community development projects, such as schools, water wells, health or training.
Look for the Fairtrade Label
Fairtrade Certified coffee is now widely available in supermarkets and cafes throughout New Zealand.
Look for the Fairtrade Label – your independent guarantee that a product is Fairtrade.
Real lives: stories from the growers
Find out how growers in these Fairtrade co-operatives are working their way out of poverty:
- Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative, Ethiopia (PDF 200KB)
- Cooperativa Cafe Timor, East Timor (PDF 450KB)
- CoopeAgri, Costa Rica (PDF 480KB)
Find out more
- Read Oxfam’s report: Mugged: Poverty in your Coffee Cup (PDF 1.25MB)
- Watch the critically acclaimed film Black Gold. Black Gold is also available at Trade Aid shops and many local video shops.