The Problem With Fair Trade Coffee

Labour exploitation within the coffee industry as well as cocoa has been going on hidden for many years. We as citizens will spend a couple of dollars on coffee when coffee growers receive as little as a couple of cents which will not be enough to support them or their families the industry relies on cheap labour and farmers are not paid a decent wage for their products. Coffee being the second most traded commodity worldwide after oil, 25 million smallholder farmers produce 80% of the world’s coffee (World Vision Action, 2018) Many farmers live in poor rural communities and will have to rely on this production of coffee harvesting as their main source of income.

Some farmers have to take their children out of school so they can help the farm which Child labour comes into this because the children are exposed to hazardous working conditions if there is lack od price stability that will lead to labour exploitation wherein that families have to work in dangerous conditions for little income.

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Most of the coffee comes from countries like Asia, Africa and America most of the families are living in places sometimes with no electricity or water. Forced labour is what occurs in these poor parts of the countries people are forced or threatened into doing these services because they are vulnerable and feel like they have no choice, it might be more common for immigrants, but it occurs with people living in their own country. Some places that exploitation occurs in Columbia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico and Guinea.

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On the other hand, Cocoa and coffee have the many of the same issues, cocoa is a primary resource for many farmers they rely on cocoa for their primary income. Cocoa is the main ingredient for chocolate, and it grows on cocoa trees which is located in the tropical regions, most of the world’s beans come from four west African countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.

Growing cocoa is consists of very hard labour, the low income creates dangerous violations of human rights because farmers are not getting paid enough they are not able to pay their workers and their workers are forced to work in dangerous conditions and suffer from lack of health care benefits which they should be rightfully entitled to. When prices go down workers are forced to put their children to work resulting in lack of education effecting their mental and physical health. The profits being made are very low for the farmers and families that are working hard only 7-10% of the profits are given to them which is very low. They must sell their prices for cocoa at the prices said by the higher companies. The low and insecure income of farmers leads to serious environmental and social problems, for example, farmers stop investing in their farms, they cut salaries, cannot provide workers with proper working conditions and are prone to child labour in worst cases.

Jamaican Rum is a distilled alcoholic made from sugar cane juice, by a process of distillation, which is usually aged in oak barrels within the Caribbean and Latin America. There are sugarcane plantations which consist of brutal exploitation with workers that work hours a day chopping, carrying, loading or re-loading mountains of raw sugar can for cheap labour. The sugar that comes from the sugarcane is an important source of ingredients for products like a Jamaican rum. Tones of sugar are deported making millions of dollars which a little portion of money distributed back to low-income workers, they are promised suitable jobs but get jobs that are dangerous, and for all their hard work they get little to no pay.

Most of the workers have no other option living conditions are usually houses made from wood not stable, little access to water. Migrants are being departed of their civil and political rights as if they are not important. Most of these people have never seen a doctor or gotten any medical assistance for years. Plantations are highly dangerous with no medical assistance; they eat more times sugar from the canes than regular foods because that’s all they have access to. While the sugar trade is expanding so will be the demand for more migrants working for them, the more they will be forced to work in the plantations.

Sugar was the main crop that was produced on plantations throughout the Caribbean. Its production to grow relies on the water availability wherein the increase of sugar the effects of lack of rainfall affects the domestic industries even if the workers get paid less to nothing. Workers worked in sugar mill and boiling houses which were very dangerous and exhausting for people, it leads to accidents that are crucial to one’s life. Many dangerous machines without any doctors nearby. Workers shouldn’t be exposed to a dangerous working environment that can cause death as well as an unstable working environment where it is to hot for someone to work in.

The impact of marketing all originates from one main component which is money. Marketplaces and trading have been around for thousands of years, but it is constantly changing due to what types of goods and services are in demand. Market externalities have specific consequences of the workings of the market for example: operating with no regulations as well as the exploitation of natural resources to produce goods. For example, coffee market price doesn’t include the price of damage to the environment, improvised lives of workers, therefore the external cost of things are rarely calculated. Most people drink coffee so much that it has become part of their everyday lives, coffee beans don’t grow locally so companies will have them shipped from counties where they do grow, of course, there are workers there to harvest the beans and will get paid for their work but that pay is not even a tenth of what the large companies will make. They don’t pay the workers a proper amount of money and they give themselves all the profits even though it’s the workers that are doing all the hard labour. The marketplace works just like the rest of the world does, the rich and wealthy prosper and continue to add money to their ever-growing pockets by dividing the lower-class people against themselves.

The wealthy know how to capitalize on the wants of the lower class and have the means and ways to provide them with all what they want and still make money. Market factors include the extraction of raw materials, transportation, distribution, manufacturing, production cost/ advertising. For instance, clothing is another example of how the profit of marketing isn’t shared equally. There are thousands of workers slaving in unhealthy and unfair conditions manufacturing clothes at a high rate and not getting paid enough to really survive. Third world countries continue to suffer from the impact that large companies from around the world imposing on them. They unfortunately don’t have the means and resources to say no to this awful condition. American strive from the lack of resources third world countries have and thrive from the making them suffer and not having to deal with the consequences. These externalities happen outside of the business sector, for example, they influence individuals not included in the creation or pursuit of the merchandises or administration. Therefore, being negative externalities being low wages, slavery, poverty, disease, hunger, habitat devastation, resource depletion, exploitation of children and pollution.

In the economy there are people living in absolute poverty that often do not have access to clean water and a safe living environment, lacking proper clothing and medicine. These conditions are leading into disadvantages through unemployment, low income, poor health care coverage and lack of education, leading to the unequal distribution of wealth and power higher, wealthier people are taking advantage of people from lower-class countries to work for nothing letting them believe they will get something at the end but work until death. Regarding health problems by unsafe drinking water and malnutrition. In my opinion, there truly needs to be a better fair trade market approach to promote better trading conditions and sustainability for farmers and producers in developing countries, therefore, having families in better living conditions and their children able to go to school, while improving labour and environmental standards as well as to help educate workers to improve their skills, products and profits. There needs to be a change of power to invest in better working conditions, health benefits just like a regular citizen and giving people a proper working salary that they deserve.

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The Problem With Fair Trade Coffee. (2020, Nov 14). Retrieved from

The Problem With Fair Trade Coffee

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