Coffee is the 2nd largest traded product after oil in the world. Starbucks, Nestle, Kraft, all such big companies provide us the coffee and as a consumer, we purchase it because of their brand value and trust but have you ever thought what’s behind such big brands. Well, behind are the untold stories of many coffee farmers who are still struggling to earn at-least one-time food.
The production of coffee requires manual work and as the demand is more it also develops a lot of money but still, the farmer or the coffee growers are either poor or in debts because they are uneducated and unaware (which also lead to child labor). Well, some organizations are playing a role to improve such conditions, but still many of them still starve even after counting coffee beans for you.
Let’s Give a deep look on this..
Coffee is grown in many parts of the world, mainly coffee comes from Asia, South America, and sub-Saharan Africa. Countries like Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, India, Ethiopia, etc. are the major coffee producing countries in the world. With around 5.8 million kg of yearly supply. Around 25 million small farmers and labor produce 80%of world’s coffee, isn’t it amazing. Well, coffee is a labor-intensive work as it involves manual work like picking, sorting, pruning, weeding, fertilizing and of course delivering.
Coffee farmers and Labors
For coffee farmers- coffee is the main primary source of income, as coffee is a big business and the people involved with it can never face poverty, but still, farmers who grow coffee live in a poor rural community and are always poor. Most of the farmer grows coffee in their plot of land and many works under proprietor. Even after the high prices of coffee beans, they get 7-10% out of the price. And the worst comes when the price of coffee falls down, the percentage directly decreases to 1-3% which is even less than their monthly expenditure.
Because of such low income, they involve their children to contribute in family income which d-unites them from their childhood and education leading to child labor. Child labor was very common in the past but till now this practice breathes air. Around the world, there are many countries such as India, Africa, etc. wherein some part of child labor is still very common.
Labor exploitation and child labor
Coffee production involves forced labor as reported in Guatemala and Cote d’Ivoire workers suffer from serious physical and mental abuses and are threatened for loss in wage and food if they do not meet through the daily demand which is always unpredictable. Workers are sometimes forced to do work in hazardous conditions and if they do not perform to that unrealistic standard they are punished with no regular payments and no Medicare.
Many because of low wage involve their children to work like their parent, they also work in intense heat, carry heavy loads and work with sharp tools and pesticide which can affect their physical, mental and psychologically social growth.
What is being done to improve such conditions.
Well, to stop such exploitation, government and other organizations such as NGO and civil society are taking steps to educate the farmers for their rights and economic justice.
NGO’s are the organization which works for public welfare, meaning no profit. Till now NGO’s have made a good contribution to eradicating such problems to the farmers. NGO’s mainly help in educating the rural people about their rights and give them knowledge about their child welfare and future. Till now many places in the world have opted the changes.
Few NGO’s Doing nice job with Coffee Farmers Education Program
Besides that after fair trade Movement which aims to improve the sustainability of farmers and also promote handful of support for better nick trading in developing countries.
Fair Trade Movement:
This movement was initiated to help the farmers to receive higher pay than the average market, by doing this, workers get better living and working conditions, it also aims to eradicate child labor and exploitation over them.
Know More about Product CertificationCoffee Program under fair trade Movement.
Well, many rules are made and broken so to ensure the regular safety of regulations, the ethical certification also provides a third-party audit to supply chains.
These are those organizations that do not seek to make a profit, but their main goal is to offer a free service to one involved in the coffee process.
Organizations such as Harvard University and Alvarado Street bakery have contributed the work and resulted in success stories.
The main work of civil society is to educate farmers about farming and teach them the ways and techniques so that they can easily access the market communities. As there are many coffee communities around the world so they also help in maintaining the ethical certification schemes.
Brands and People:
Organization Industry initiative and consumer demand for ethically developed coffee have contributed a lot to bring changes, as recently many brands like Starbucks have recognized the value and have adopted selling those coffee products which are ethically developed and doesn’t involve any kind of exploitative labor. In the U.S. almost 45 million cups of coffee are consumed in a day numbering into many people and everyone is happy to pay more money if it means that coffee farmers are paid with fair wages without exploitation.
How can you contribute-
As coffee consumers are the main target of the vendors or marketers, so we then got power to control a lot.
We have power to prefer purchasing those brands which involves ethically developed coffee. Other than that, you can also make sure that the cafe, restaurants, offices and shops you visit use ethical coffee, if not do suggest them by telling appropriate reason.
Well, these steps are the good start as by keeping them in practice there will be more consumption of ethically prepared coffee resulting in the growth of ethical farming. You can also contact your favorite coffee brand if you don’t find ethical coffee labeled properly and can ask them about the moral they follow. This can contribute to the better living of coffee farmers and will also increase the use of ethical farming.