Expensive coffee good for the farmers

REPORT | 22 June 2011

The price for a cup of coffee has increased sharply – troubling many consumers. But for coffee farmers in Brazil, the increase has been good because low prices have only slowed efforts to improve working conditions for low-salaried growers and workers.

In a report released in 2005, Swedwatch emphasizes that coffee companies must do more to ensure that prices increases have positive effects on growers and workers. In its August 2010 follow-up report, Swedwatch found that the biggest coffee roasters in Sweden, Kraft Foods (Gevalia) and Nestlé (Zoégas) had not lead to badly-needed improvements in the coffee production chain. The companies considered the criticism and in meetings held during the winter of 2010-2011, Nestlé and Kraft Foods were able to report several positive changes.

Nestlé has increased the amounts that it buys directly from farmers, which helps them to trace and control coffee production. They also require suppliers to register with the industry’s cooperation initiative Progress and believe that they should be part of the audit program.

Kraft Foods requires their suppliers to register with Progress. They have also initiated an effort to get one hundred percent certified or verified coffee beans to the European market during the spring of 2011.

Over the next five years, all purchases of coffee beans made ​​from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms or from those contained in the venture 4C, which is an initiative to raise the base level in terms of coffee production.

Made in collaboration with: Swedish Church & The Solidarity Sweden-Latin America