Mugged: Poverty in our coffee cup

Publication date

01 Apr 2002

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This paper looks at the effect of unfair trade policies on coffee growers in developing countries. 25million coffee growers face severe threats to their livelihoods as a result of declining profit margins linked to the falling price of coffee in the international market. The price of coffee has fallen by 50 percent in the past three years to a 30-year low. Families of developing-country coffee farmers are facing severe economic challenges that many have had to pull their children out of school for lack of financial capacity. This paper examines the coffee value chain and traces the problems associated with it to the free and liberalised international market. It recommends possible solutions and makes a case for a Coffee Rescue Plan which brings together all the stakeholders in the coffee industry. The paper relies on both primary and secondary data for its analysis.