Fair Trade is a voluntary program utilized by coffee importers and food companies to create an alternative market for traditionally disadvantaged producers in developing countries, usually small scale farmers. The components include:
- Targeted purchasing of coffee through democratically organized farmer co-operatives.
- Agreed upon commodity floor prices that provide for a dignified livelihood.
- Direct exports by producers.
- A promise by importers to make affordable credit available to the farmer cooperatives.
- A world-wide network of non-profit certifying organization.
- A fee paid by importers and wholesalers to cover the cost of certification.
- A seal that assures consumers that the product was fairly traded.
Your purchase of fairly traded coffee helps build pride, independence and community empowerment for small farmers and their families. A coffee processing plant in El Salvador, community stores in Colombia, the training of doctors in Mexico, new schools in Peru - these are examples of initiatives co-ops have taken in their own communities with the income from Fair Trade.