Since many churches, in an effort to do the right thing by Third World farmers, use or endorse Fair Trade coffee at their after service 'coffee hour', I thought this report was worth circulating. A German economic study has found that Fair Trade has tended to further impoverish Third World coffee growers and, in their efficiency-motivated drive to re-structure farms on a co-operative basis, often doesn't respect the strong tradition of family ownership in some cultures. According to the author of the article, independent Canadian coffee merchant Lawrence Solomon, free trade makes pawns of the farmers and is a joke on the customers. It seems to amount to little more than a profitable marketing angle for the middle-man.
Click on the post title for the article.
As for me and my house (and church), we shall drink tea!
(I recommend 'Dilmah' tea from Sri Lanka - a better quality product than the international companies produce, family owned and socially responsible too)