Just as we are dependent on coffee to get through a hard day’s work, it is also the most valuable and widely traded tropical agricultural product. Around 125 million people worldwide depend on coffee for their livelihoods, however, many of the 25 million small holder farmers who produce 80% of the world’s coffee fail to earn a reliable living. 

Coffee Break

Coffee is well known for being a boom and bust commodity. Global coffee production varies from year to year according to weather conditions, disease and other factors, resulting in a coffee market that is inherently unstable and characterized by wide fluctuations in price. This price volatility has significant consequences for those who depend on coffee for their livelihood, making it difficult for growers to predict their income for the coming season and budget for their household and farming needs. 

The coffee supply chain is complex as beans pass through the hands of growers, traders, processors, exporters, roaster, retailers and finally the consumer. Most farmers have little idea of where their coffee goes or what price it ends up selling for. The more lucrative export of green coffee – beans that have been processed ready for export and roasting – is only an option for farmers if they can form cooperatives, purchase processing equipment and organize export or hire a contractor to carry out these services. 

Fairtrade was started in response to the dire struggles of Mexican coffee farmers following the collapse of world coffee prices in the late 1980s. With Fairtrade, certified coffee producer organisations are guaranteed to receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for their coffee, which aims to cover their costs of production and act as a safety net when market prices fall below a sustainable level. Through their producer organisations, farmers also receive the additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community improvements and must use at least 25% of it to enhance productivity and quality, for example by investing in processing facilities. In 2013-14, Fairtrade coffee farmer organizations received over $70 million in Fairtrade Premium. They invested around half in improving the infrastructure, facilities and processes in their organizations.

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Watch Vision of the Future - a short film that presents portraits of inspiring young people of the Youth Program 
of the coffee producer organization AsoAnei in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, Colombia

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Our Coffee Producers

  • Coffee

    ASPROTIMANA, Colombia

    Through coffee and the development of the cooperative, ASPROTIMANA has offered the families hope for a better future.


    CECOVASA, Peru

    CECOVASA is a secondary-level organisation made up of 10 primary co-operatives which represent 5,049 Quechua and Aymara peasant families.

  • COMSA worker

    COMSA, Honduras

    Café Organica Marcala (COMSA) is an association of small-scale organic coffee producers located in the La Paz region of western Honduras.


    COOPEAGRI, Costa Rica

    COOPEAGRI is a large co-operative located in the Perez Celedon region in the south of Costa Rica. Coffee is its main cash crop.

  • Jose Malik

    Cooperativa Café Timor (CCT), East Timor

    The Cooperativa Café Timor or CCT is the only Fairtrade organization producing coffee in East Timor. It is based in the districts of Ermera, Ainaro, Aileu, Manufafi and Liquica. Members of this cooperative are traditional small-scale farmers. 



    FIECH has over 3,300 members, primarily indigenous famers and their families.

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    Gerardo Arias Camacho - - COOCAFE, Costa Rica

    Gerardo Arias Camacho is a coffee farmer and a board member of his local Llano Bonito coffee co-operative.

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    Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union, Ethiopia

    Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union (OCFCU), the largest Fairtrade coffee producer in Ethiopia, was founded in 1999.

  • UCA-San-Juan-worker


    UCA was founded in 1992 by members of 11 village co-operatives.