Fair Trade: Mmmmm … Coffee

Fair Trade is a easy way to give gifts to loved ones and help working poor families around the world. If you’re looking for gifts you won’t find on department store shelves, check out the CRS Fair Trade web site and blog. Below, a look at the beginnings of an overseas CRS Fair Trade coffee project.

In 2002, the international price of coffee had dropped to an all time low. Nicaragua, where an estimated one-third of the country’s 5.1 million residents depend in some measure on coffee revenues, has been hit particularly hard by the coffee crisis.

Nicaraguan coffee farmers took to the streets in protest, the low prices for coffee made it impossible for farmers to recoup their production costs. The fragile income that supported their families had collapsed. With their families going hungry, many farmers abandoned their land in search of work in the cities.

CRS/Nicaragua recognized the need for longer-term assistance to help small-scale coffee farmers survive in an unusually competitive international market. This led to a longer-term commitment to provide technical assistance to struggling coffee farmers. CRS and our partner, Caritas Matagalpa, offered to help coffee farmers form a cooperative through which they could work to improve the quality of their coffee, receive access to credit and gain access to the fair trade market.

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