Monday, March 20, 2006

Fair Trade Coffee?

I opined on this issue before, how fair trade coffee didn't seem fair to me. Now the always excellent Cafe Hayek comments on an article on this issue, in the New York Times amazingly. It seems like not only do customers get ripped off, but so do the farmers they are proposing to help. An Excerpt:

Fair Trade labels don't list the amount paid to farmers; that sum requires research. The amount can vary depending on the commodity. An analysis using information from TransFair shows that cocoa farmers get 3 cents of the $3.49 spent on a 3.5-ounce chocolate bar labeled "organic fair trade" sold at Target. Farmers receive 24 cents for a one-pound bag of fair trade sugar sold at Whole Foods for $3.79.

The coffee farmer who produced the one-pound bag of coffee purchased by Mr. Terman received $1.26, higher than the commodity rate of $1.10. But whether Mr. Terman paid $10 or $6 for that fair trade coffee, the farmer gets the same $1.26.