Including More People

According to the U.N.more than 2 billion people currently live on less than $2 a day, 65% of whom work in agriculture. Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction have been allowed participate in Fair Trade. We can and must do more.

Beginning in coffee, our goal is to increase the scope, impact and relevancy of Fair Trade both for existing Fair Trade farmers and for the majority of coffee producers who have historically been excluded. 

Our pilot project aims to bring the benefits and opportunities of Fair Trade to the entire coffee-producing community--co-ops, independent smallholders and farm workers-- to foster socially and environmentally sustainable production on farms across the globe.

The Pilots

The pilot project will help us develop best practices for including farm workers and independent smallholders in Fair Trade. Over a two year time period we will track and analyze the impact of Fair Trade at the farm and sector level, to ensure that co-ops remain strong and competitive. There are currently 12 pilots underway representing 9,000 farmers and workers in Africa and Latin America. Ten of these have been certified.

  • BRAZIL: Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima
  • COLOMBIA: Empresas de Nariño
  • COSTA RICA: Café de Altura de San Ramón
  • BRAZIL: Ipanema Agricola
  • HONDURAS: Beneficio Santa Rosa S.A.
  • COLOMBIA: Hacienda Venecia
  • ETHIOPIA: Moredocofe
  • BRAZIL: Fazenda Primavera
  • PERU: Prodelsur
  • NICARAGUA: Finca La Revancha

BRAZIL: Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima

Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 1025091
Fair Trade USA Standard: Farm Worker
Varietals: Acaica, Catucai, Mundo Novo, Boudon, Icatu
Elevation: 950m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: Organic, Utz and Rainforest Alliance
Number of Workers 110
Location: Minas Gerais, Brazil
Hectares: 230 hectares

Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima (FNSF) is an organic, family-owned coffee farm in the Cerrado Region of Minas Gerais, Brazil. With 110 farm workers in employment, 40% of whom are women, FNSF became the world’s first Fair Trade Certified coffee estate in January 2012.

Ricardo Aguiar Resende, a third-generation coffee farmer, and his wife Gisele, own and operate the farm. The couple is deeply committed to the health, safety and overall well being of the farm workers, and see Fair Trade as a natural next step. Using their first community development premiums, the Fair Trade committee voted to bring eye and dental care to the community. Many workers received glasses for the first time in their lives.

“I’ve never been to the dentist before because I could not afford it. I am very glad about Fair Trade because it is already allowing to access services we did not have before. I am going to the dentist for the first time and my wife Karina went to the eye doctor. We did not have this before Fair Trade”

– Jonatan Santos Silva, farm worker

COLOMBIA: Empresas de Nariño

Empresas de Nariño Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 1023855
Fair Trade USA Standard: Independent Smallholder
Varietals: Caturra, Colombian, Tipica; Castillo
Elevation: 1500-2300m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: none
Number of Farmers: 245
Location: Nariño, Colombia
Hectares: 260 hectares

The Department of Nariño accounts for roughly 5% of Colombia’s coffee production, and is often recognized for producing some of the highest quality in the country. In 2010, 17 of the 21 finalists of the Cup of Excellence were from Nariño. In the region there are approximately 35,000 small-scale farmers, many of whom own between 1 and 3 acres of land.

To bring the opportunities of Fair Trade to the majority of farmers who are not part of a cooperative, Fair Trade USA has partnered with Empresas de Nariño (EN) and 245 independent small farmers to earn certification. Empresas de Nariño has a long history of supporting small-scale farmers, and has developed a number of projects to promote market access, improve quality and implement sustainable agricultural practices. With support from local partners on the ground, such as AVINA and FUNDES, we are helping to organize a strong network farmers that will export as a group, improve business capacity, become better trading partners, and improve the lives of their families and communities.

The farmers recently voted to to invest their Fair Trade Community Development Premiums in capacity building and business training programs.

“The idea of Fair Trade is very compelling. Instead of external projects funded by others, we will choose our own projects and implement them with our own funds.”

– José Erney Ahuamada

COSTA RICA: Café de Altura de San Ramón

Café de Altura de San Ramón Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 027393
Fair Trade USA Standard: Independent Smallholder
Varietals: Caturra and Catuai (100% shade grown)
Elevation: 1,000- 1,700m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: ISO 14001 Certified Environmental Management; Quality Certification; UTZ
Number of Farmers: 537
Location: San Ramón, Costa Rica
Hectares: 1,500 hectares

In 2012, 537 small-scale coffee farmers became the first group in coffee to earn Fair Trade certification under Fair Trade USA’s Independent Smallholders Standard. As a producer owned and operated business, Café de Altura de San Ramon works to improve the quality of life of their members through market access and improved terms of trade.

After democratically-electing a Fair Trade committee, the farmers at Café de Altura voted to invest their premiums in dental care for the community. Considering how expensive dental care is in the region, this program will enable the farmers, their families and their communities to see dentists and get the care they need. As Fair Trade sales increase, the farmers of Café de Altura also hope to tackle the main problems in the region: creating more economic opportunities for new generations and decreasing migration to the city. They will also invest in programs to protect the environment.

“We believe in working together- if we all hold hands and work together, all the community benefits. Fair Trade is a way to continue doing that. We want benefits for the whole community and not only for a few”

– Cecilio Jimenez

BRAZIL: Ipanema Agricola

Ipanema Agricola Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 1027136
Fair Trade USA Standard: Farm Worker
Varietals: Mundo Novo (52%), Catuaí (22%), Acaiá (15%), Icatu (7%), Bourbon(4%)
Elevation: 780-1350m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: Rainforest Alliance. UTZ, CAFÉ Practices
Number of Workers 600 permanent, 1000 seasonal
Location: Minas Gerais, Brazil
Hectares: 3,570 hectares

Founded in 1969, Ipanema Agricola is a large coffee estate located in southern Minas Gerais, Brazil. Roughly 3,570 hectares are dedicated to sustainable coffee production, and 1,200 hectares are set aside for biodiversity preservation. Committed to both social and environmental responsibility, the farm founded the Ipanema Institute in 2000 to develop social projects for the workers and their communities. The projects focus on everything from education and volunteer work, to occupational health and safety, to ecosystem conservation. Ipanema Agricola sees Fair Trade certification as a natural path towards increased investment in their workers, their families, and the land.

After democratically-electing a Fair Trade committee, the farm workers at Ipanema Agricola plan to invest their Fair Trade community development premiums in healthcare. Workers currently have access to a health plan, but there is a co-payment that is often impossible for workers to pay. Getting better access to healthcare is very important to them. They've also identified nutrition and diet diversification as critical issues in the community

“The Fair Trade premium will be an investment in the future of my family.”

– Francisco Alves Balduino

HONDURAS: Beneficio Santa Rosa S.A.

Beneficio Santa Rosa Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 1034783
Fair Trade USA Standard: Independent Smallholder
Varietals: Caturra, Catuai, Borbon and Lempira
Elevation: 1,300-1,600m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: Rainforest Alliance; 4C
Number of Farmers 140
Location: Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras
Hectares: 1,124 hectares

The small-scale coffee farmers of Santa Rosa de Copan have worked independently for most of their lives. Now, with support from Beneficio Santa Rosa and Fair Trade USA, they're working together to implement sustainable farming practices, improve farming and processing techniques, and invest in their community. Beneficio Santa Rosa, which serves as the Market Access Partner for 140 independent smallholders in the region, has many years of experience in Fair Trade. They currently export coffee from Fair Trade cooperatives and have facilitated hundreds of thousands of dollars in Fair Trade premiums for smallholder coffee farmers across Honduras. It is now partnering with independent farmers from the Cruz Alta and El Trigo communities in the departments of Santa Rosa de Copan and Lempira to improve coffee quality and bring the benefits of Fair Trade to independent smallholders..

Farmers are already seeing the benefits of Fair Trade. They're learning best practices for water use in coffee processing, have eliminated dangerous chemicals, and are using proper safety equipment. They are also working together to improve quality by processing as a group in a new community wet mill. With future Fair Trade sales, farmers plan to invest in education by bringing qualified teachers to the local school, creating scholarships for children, and buying school materials. Improving access to better healthcare is also a priority.

“Fair trade is an opportunity for us, women. Fair Trade is also an opportunity to support coffee production. The certification process allows us to improve our lives, our families, and the community. We, farmers, must do our part: complying with the standards. This will allow us to sell coffee at better prices. ”

– Paola Desire Sanchez

COLOMBIA: Hacienda Venecia

Hacienda Venecia Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 1030631
Fair Trade USA Standard: Farm Worker
Varietals: Castilla Naranjal
Elevation: 1,500m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: UTZ Certified; Biotropico
Number of Workers 30 Permanent, 15 temporary, 500 migrant
Location: Manizales, Colombia
Hectares: 200; 161 in production

Located in the central mountain range of the Colombian Andes at 1,500 meters above sea level, the 200 hectare farm employs just over 500 farm workers each year. Coffee harvested at Hacienda Venecia is all processed on site. Tasks are carried out by hand, and the drying process utilizes a combination of sun and heat silos. At Hacienda Venecia the main harvest begins in September, though workers will harvest all year round. To earn Fair Trade certification, the farm implemented training programs around workers’ rights, responsible use of pesticides, leadership, and Fair Trade standards. Workers also democratically-elected a Fair Trade committee, and hold regular meetings to assess community needs and vote on how to invest their Community Development Premiums. After the first Fair Trade sale, workers will focus on improving living conditions for both permanent and temporary workers. They first plan to build bathrooms, showers, and better rooms that provide a sense of privacy and security. They also want to improve access to better food, improve farming techniques, and build a healthcare insurance program and retirement program.

“We are excited about what Fair Trade could bring to us, workers. We hope this initiative can help improve our day-to-day work and our lives.”

– Eliover Garcia, farm worker

ETHIOPIA: Moredocofe

Moredocofe Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 1034853
Fair Trade USA Standard: Farm Worker
Varietals: Green Arabica Semi-Forest Highland; Sidamo
Elevation: 1600-2000m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: Rainforest Alliance; Organic
Number of Workers 46 Permanent, 300 Temporary and 50 Migrant
Location: Ethiopia
Hectares: 510

Moredocofe is a family-owned, organic coffee farm located 520 km south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Established by the Gebre family, Moredocofe employs around 400 farm workers annually and produces some of the finest shade-grown coffee in Ethiopia. They are also deeply dedicated to producing sustainable and ethical coffee, and place tremendous value on environmental preservation and worker empowerment.

After electing a Fair Trade committee, the farm workers at Moredocofe voted to implement projects that will benefit the entire community. They plan to invest in quality cafeteria service for workers, education, and a grocery store with subsidized pricing for farm employees. The cafeteria will also serve as a community center.

“I see a bright future for my kids!”

– Wondiye Haile, farm worker and member of Fair Trade committee

BRAZIL: Fazenda Primavera

Fazenda Primavera Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 1034731
Fair Trade USA Standard: Farm Worker
Varietals: Catuai, Catucai, Topazio, Mundo Novo
Elevation: 1,000m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, BSCA, Certifica Minas, and 4C
Number of Workers 200
Location: Minas Gerais, Brazil
Hectares: 1,032

Fazenda Primavera is located in the Northeastern region of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in the Jequitinhonha Valley. With a heavy focus on sustainable production, social responsibility, and coffee quality, Fair Trade certification was a natural next step for owner Elza Rodrigues Antunes and the 200 workers in employment.

Primavera prides itself on providing job opportunities to people in the local community, many of whom are also small, independent coffee farmers who are unable to survive on their own crop alone.

The newly-formed, democratically-elected Fair Trade committee hopes to use their first community developments premiums to improve access to healthcare for themselves and their families—a critical need identified by workers in the community.

“It has been very inspiring to learn more about what Fair Trade is and how it works. My dream now is securing a better livelihood for all my co-workers, I dream with the day that each one of them could buy their own house and have access to a good health program. I trust Fair Trade will help me reach my dreams and working together we will successfully implement projects with the Fair Trade premium.”

– Elio Machado Da Silva, farm worker

PERU: Prodelsur

Prodelsur Coffee Innovation
Farm ID: 1034732
Fair Trade USA Standard: Independent Smallholder
Varietals: 70 % Caturra, 15% Typica, Bourbon & Pache, 15% Catimor
Elevation: Between 1,200 and 1,900 meters above sea level (80% of the coffee is produced above 1,400 meters.)
Other Certifications Held: UTZ, C.A.F.E practices, 4C, Rainforest Alliance
Number of Workers 160 producers
Location: Junín and Cajamarca, Peru
Hectares: 712

The independent smallholders of Prodelsur believe that Fair Trade is the best path to small producer empowerment, and the ability to take the future into their own hands. Traditionally these farmers have sold to cash paying middlemen or other intermediaries, and because they are not organized into a formal cooperative, have been left out of the opportunities and benefits realized by so many of their organized neighbors.

To earn certification, these individual farmers have been working closely with one another, and are building the tools necessary to thrive as a group with a shared social and environmental mission. Their Fair Trade meetings have urged them to generate open dialogue, not only around certification, but around shared challenges and collective solutions.

In a similar fashion to cooperatives, the independent smallholders of Prodelsur have formed two regional Fair Trade committees, who will be responsible for the management and implementation of the Community Development Premiums. Some critical needs identified are: lack of medical facilities, poor water supply, and scarce educational opportunities for farmers and their families. Farmers have also elected to invest part of the premium on obtaining fertilizers for higher productivity, and road improvement to bring better quality coffee from high elevations to the collection center.

“We might be in separate territories, but unified in ideals. We are all looking for a better future. I see now that Fair Trade tries to create a more fair reality, both for small farmers and farm workers"

– Aladino Delgado Perez, farmer

NICARAGUA: Finca La Revancha

Finca La Revancha Coffee Innovation
Fair Trade USA Standard: Farm Worker
Varietals: Caturra, Caturra Estrella, Red Catuahi, Yellow Catuahi, Catimor, Maragogype
Elevation: 1,000m above sea level
Other Certifications Held: None
Number of Workers 96 Permanent/500 Temporary
Location: La Dalia, Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Hectares: 160 hectares planted

In November 2013, La Revancha became the first Fair Trade Certified coffee estate in Central America. Their mission is to continuously produce high quality coffee and promote the conservation of the environment by efficiently managing its resources. The owners of the estate, Rodrigo and Cecilia, believe that social development and training is integral to better coffee, and better living and working conditions for their employees.

To earn certification, the farm improved worker housing, provided access to drinking water, implemented 24 hour electricity, invested in pre-school and primary education, trained women on basic rights and domestic violence prevention, and trained workers on best agricultural practices and occupational safety.

With their first premiums, the Fair Trade Committee voted to construct 24 latrines in local communities, and implemented a food assistance program for seniors. They also plan to bring specialized doctors in the fields of pediatric, gynecology, surgery and lab testing into the community to provide medical services to workers and their families.

“I am the living image of a coffee farm worker in my country, and I am very proud to represent this image. We are not only farm workers, we are professionals, we are experts in the area, but we are poor professionals. We are professionals that haven’t had a chance to earn a stamp.”

– Leonardo Garcia, farm worker

Breakdown of coffee farmer population
Estimated breakdown of coffee producing population. Source: NKG 2010/2013.

Why Independent Smallholders?

Independent, small-scale farmers represent over half of the coffee-producing population, but have historically been excluded from the sustainable coffee conversation.

Building on existing Fair Trade standards for rice and cotton farmers, the ISS model creates a journey whereby farmers can choose their own organizational form, enjoy the benefits of Fair Trade, address key challenges in production as a group, improve quality and terms of trade, and potentially organize into a cooperative over time. 

Learn more about the importance of independent smallholders here


Why Farm Workers?

Farm workers, earning $2-3 a day, are arguably the group most in need of Fair Trade. Dangerous working conditions, low wages, child labor, poor housing conditions, zero job security and limited access to medical care are some of the critical challenges they face.

Building on existing Fair Trade standards for flower, tea and banana workers, the Farm Worker Standard aims to extend the benefits and opportunities of Fair Trade to the people who produce roughly half of the world’s coffee. Key focal points include worker empowerment, health and safety, training and organization, and continual improvement over time.

Learn more about farm workers here


Community Development Premiums

Like cooperatives, farm workers and independent smallholders involved in the pilot program must democratically-elect a Fair Trade committee. Together they will manage, vote upon, and utilize the Fair Trade Community Development Premium to implement projects deemed most needed within the community. 

See how farm workers in Nicaragua plan to use their first premiums here

Pilots: On The Map

Assessing the Impact of Coffee Innovation

In order to evaluate the impact of this pilot program, we’ve developed a comprehensive Impact Assessment Process (IAP), which aims to bring clarity, transparency, and multi-stakeholder input to the forefront of our innovation work.

The IAP will also be supported by third-party research organizations and independent consultants.

Click here to learn more about our Impact Assessment Process.

Rigorous Standards

Our objective in developing standards for Fair Trade certification is to maintain the rigor for which Fair Trade Certified products are known, while creating additional opportunities to enable more farmers and workers to access the opportunities of Fair Trade.

Learn more about the Farm Worker and Independent Smallholder standards here

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Farm Workers Left Behind: The Human Cost of Coffee Production

Coffee Gente

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A Farm Worker Speaks: Fair Trade Makes a Real Difference

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The Silent Majority: Independent Smallholder Coffee Farmer

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Fair Trade USA Steps Up on Impact Measurement