I read an article in The Economist recently which criticized Fair Trade as a simple price support system that encourages overproduction. This “Adam Smith” take on Fair Trade implies that the invisible hand of economics should be allowed to force down prices and remove the small “inefficient” producers, all in the best interest of society. Indeed as Smith said in the Wealth of Nations:
We recently got an updated study from the National Coffee Association indicating that Fair Trade consumer awareness is up for the third straight year. The study also indicated that over half of consumers who know of Fair Trade coffee buy it. In fact, Fair Trade is twice as likely to motivate a purchase as organic. Our own research tells us the main reason is that Fair Trade represents equitable trading conditions for small farmers, an issue that most consumers care about.
Last year, 2012, was a year of momentum, innovation, and growth for Fair Trade. We saw significant growth in key categories such as coffee, produce and quinoa. With imports at an all time high, more farmers and workers earned more community development premiums than ever before (at $32 million!).
Farm ID: 1025091
Fair Trade USA Standard: Farm Worker
Varietals: Acaica, Catucai, Mundo Novo, Boudon, Icatu
Elevation: 950m above sea level
Other Certifications: Organic, Utz and Rainforest Alliance
Number of Workers: 110 farm workers
Location: Minas Gerais, Brazil
Hectares: 230 hectares
Fair Trade Breakfast<br /> May 13-14th, 2011
We can change the world by changing our breakfast. It’s as easy as a cup of coffee and a banana. In honor of World Fair Trade Day, join supporters around the world in a Fair Trade Breakfast to help raise awareness about the importance of social, economic and environmental sustainability in global supply chains. Every purchase matters, and every action that you take in support of Fair Trade make a big difference in the lives of farmers and farm workers throughout the world.