Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ft gives coffee farmers a raise

naturally there's a been lot of talk about how the fair-trade labeling organizations decided to bump the its official base price from US$1.26 -- where it has sat for quite a long time -- to a mere US$1.31.

they've also increased their certified organic beans to US$1.51, up a dime. forgive me for being underwhelmed, with all due respect.

long-time readers know i'm not the biggest fair-trade fan, because of the producer fees they charge farmers. i don't know of any real beneficiary group that charges the impoverished a E2,000 minimum "inspection fee" + a "basic fee" + a "volume fee" to help them!

and i'm also not thrilled with the lack of transparency in how much the farmers actually do get of that supposed base price, because we all know they don't in truth get that full amount.

i'd be more impressed if they raised the base price to US$1.85, frankly. that's probably more like where it needs to be to seriously help coffee farmers and incentivize them to produce top quality beans.

and of course, most americans -- certainly those who drop US$4 on a mermaid fancy drink with whipped cream -- can afford it: after all, of that 4 bucks scarcely pennies go back to the farmer as it is. certainly the mermaid itself can afford it.

long-time bccy pal doug zell can afford it
; and he does, even paying more!

supposedly cheap coffee has proven to be so expensive to us in other ways, esp. in terms of illegal immigration and the drug trade. i'm constantly suprised that americans don't remember this: what do they think happened to all those people who used to pick coffee in mexico?

where do you think they all went? (hint: some of them are delivering my laundry. . .)

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posted by fortune | 6:18 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 2 comments

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