Prized tag

Published: Thursday 31 October 2002

Plucking the profits (Credit: Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos)Farmers in Alto Incariado, central Peru, are hoping that the fair trade label on their coffee crops will fetch them decent wages and give them the right to unionise. For this reason alone they have joined hands with the local La Florida Cooperative that sells coffee carrying the label. The seal provides an assurance to consumers that producers are complying with environmental standards. This guarantee comes at an extra price, which is charged per bag. Farmers are joining the fair trade label league to get better returns for their yield.

The coffee price for producers who work with Fair Trade Labelling Organisation (flo), the world's biggest fair trade certifier, is us $1.26 a pound (0.45 kg) -- more than twice the price of coffee futures in New York. Of the us $1.26 the cooperative is paid per pound for fair trade coffee, farmers working with La Florida say they get us $0.63-$0.94 per pound for their fair trade beans compared to a ceiling of us $0.63 per pound for common coffee. According to estimates, fair trade coffee sales grew 12 per cent in 2001. A hot beverage indeed.

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