Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

How your daily coffee habit may support poverty

There are steps that you can take to ensure that your morning cup of coffee is not endorsing poverty in Africa.

Africa does not benefit from the processing and manufacturing portion of the coffee bean, only the agricultural. Discover what is Fair Trade and how does it help the small family coffee growers and not endorse poverty and exploitation of poor agricultural coffee growing regions. While the coffee industry can be complex and challenging, there are steps that consumers can take to ensure that their morning cup of coffee is produced in a way that is ethical, sustainable, and supports the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and workers in developing countries.

Coffee and poverty, the bitter truth behind your morning brew.

It is true that the coffee industry has a complex supply chain that can involve exploitation and poverty among small-scale farmers and workers in developing countries. However, there are steps that consumers can take to ensure that their morning cup of coffee is not endorsing poverty.

One way to support ethical and sustainable coffee production is to look for products that carry certifications such as Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance. These certifications indicate that the coffee has been produced in a way that meets certain standards for fair labor practices, environmental sustainability, and economic stability. By choosing certified coffee, consumers can help support small-scale farmers and workers in developing countries and promote a more equitable and sustainable coffee industry.

Picking coffee berries in Ethiopia

Another way to support ethical coffee production is to buy directly from small-scale coffee farmers or cooperatives. This approach can help ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their crops and that the benefits of coffee production are more evenly distributed throughout the supply chain.

Consumers can also support ethical coffee production by advocating for policy changes that promote fair labor practices and environmental sustainability in the coffee industry. This can include supporting initiatives to promote transparency in supply chains, strengthen labor protections, and reduce the environmental impact of coffee production.

Small family coffee growers in Ethiopia are a crucial part of the country's agricultural sector, and they play a key role in producing some of the world's finest coffees. However, despite the importance of coffee to the Ethiopian economy, the lives of small family coffee growers can be challenging and often marked by poverty and uncertainty.

Many small family coffee growers in Ethiopia work on small plots of land, typically less than one hectare, and rely on coffee as their main source of income. However, coffee prices can be volatile and subject to fluctuations in the global market, which can make it difficult for farmers to make ends meet.

In addition to economic challenges, small family coffee growers in Ethiopia often face environmental challenges, such as droughts, floods, and soil erosion. These challenges can make it difficult to maintain healthy coffee trees and produce high-quality beans.

Social challenges can also be a factor for small family coffee growers in Ethiopia. Many farmers lack access to education, healthcare, and other basic services, and may live in remote areas with limited infrastructure.

Despite these challenges, small family coffee growers in Ethiopia are often deeply committed to their work and take pride in producing high-quality coffee. Many farmers use traditional methods of cultivation and harvest, such as hand-picking the ripest coffee cherries, and take great care in processing and roasting their beans.

The dark side of coffee, how it fuels poverty and inequality but Fair Trade can help.

The lives of small family coffee growers in Ethiopia can be difficult and uncertain, but they are also marked by resilience, hard work, and a deep connection to the land and the coffee that it produces. Efforts to support these farmers through initiatives like Fair Trade can help provide greater stability and security for them and their communities.

Fair Trade is a social movement that aims to help small-scale farmers and producers in developing countries get better prices and working conditions for their products. One of the ways that Fair Trade works is by establishing a set of standards for fair labor practices, environmental sustainability, and economic stability, and then certifying products that meet these standards with a Fair Trade label. 

For small family coffee growers in Ethiopia, Fair Trade certification can have several benefits. First and foremost, it can help them get a fair price for their coffee beans, which can be difficult in a global market that is often dominated by large multinational corporations.

Fair Trade certification can also help ensure that the farmers are paid promptly and fairly for their crops, which can help provide stability and security for their families and communities. In addition to economic benefits, Fair Trade can also help promote environmental sustainability and social justice in the coffee industry. 

For example, Fair Trade standards often require farmers to use environmentally-friendly farming practices, such as natural pest control methods and organic fertilizers. Fair Trade certification can also help support community development projects, such as building schools or health clinics, which can have a positive impact on the lives of small family coffee growers and their families.

Picking coffee berries in Ethiopia
Picking coffee berries in Ethiopia

The hidden cost of coffee: poverty for the growers.

Africa particularly the Ethiopian Rift Valley is famous across the world for growing producing the best coffee in the world, primarily due to its superior growing conditions. Coffee is the way many people begin their day. Whether it is brewing a cup at home or stopping by their favorite local coffee shop, many people consider coffee an essential part of their routine.

Ethiopia is the world’s fifth largest coffee producer and Africa’s top producer. Coffee is Ethiopia's principal source of income and the world's demand for quality coffee is increasing steadily. More than 15 million people grow the crop for a living, hundreds of thousands of intermediaries are involved in the collection of the crop from farmers and supply to the export and domestic market.

A sizable amount of foreign exchange, accounting up to 30% of the total yearly export income, is derived from coffee. Companies outside of the African continent do the work of roasting, packaging, retailing and other assorted workings in the coffee value chain. Africa does not benefit from the processing and manufacturing portion of the coffee bean, only the agricultural.

[Read: 54 Interesting Facts About African Agriculture]

According to Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear the fair trade logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. Fair trade helps farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.

Fair trade is a nonprofit but does not do charity. Instead, teaches disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage. With Fair Trade USA, the money you spend on day-to-day goods can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.

Fair Trade can be a powerful tool for supporting small family coffee growers in Ethiopia and other developing countries. By providing fair prices, promoting environmental sustainability, and supporting community development, Fair Trade can help ensure that these farmers can continue to grow and produce high-quality coffee for years to come.

Visit Fair Trade USA  for a complete listing of companies under the Fair Trade Certified Coffee program.

Roasting coffee in 1920

Where did Coffee come from? Legend has it that coffee was accidentally discovered by Kaldi, a goat herder who lived in Ethiopia. One day, Kaldi observed his herd of goats chewing on red cherries from a tree he had never noticed before, after which they became energized. After trying them himself, Kaldi brought the cherries to a local monastery, where the monks tossed them in the fire as they disapproved of the idea of using the strange fruit. Instead of burning the beans, it actually roasted them. Those roasted beans were used to create the first coffee.

Together we build awareness that boost harmony, education, and success, below are more links to articles you will find thought provoking.

  1. Deadliest routes for refugees
  2. Cooking with shea butter oil
  3. Worst serial killers recorded in history are women
  4. Indigenous healers and plants used
  5. Night running illness or magic
  6. What is back to Africa

Chic African Culture and The African Gourmet=

Wise African Proverb

Wise African Proverb

More Articles to Read from Chic African Culture

Show more

Week’s Best Posts and Pages

Chad Steamed Honey Cassava Buns

What is the difference between ugali and fufu

Chura Dance Twerking on the Beach in Africa

The Serenity Prayer translated into the 10 most popular African languages