CIAT research into the benefits of Fair Trade coffee is the basis for an article in Time magazine. Although Fair Trade: What price for good coffee? doesn’t mention CIAT by name, we carried out the “private industry study” they refer to, in Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua in 2007, in collaboration with the Sustainable Food Laboratory and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR).
The report found that many coffee producers were not benefitting from the higher retail prices for Fair Trade beans and that their families went hungry for between one-to-five months per year.
CIAT’s market specialist Mark Lundy said: “These were very powerful findings and we were very pleased the results were taken seriously. CIAT is continuing to work hand-in-hand with buyers and NGOs to identify the means by which big business can engage in practices that can truly benefit smallholder rural farmers.”
As a result of the study, GMCR restructured its Corporate Social Responsibility program to focus on projects that directly benefit farmers and their families. Recently, it has partnered with Catholic Relief Services, Heifer International, Save the Children, Pueblo a Pueblo, and CAN (Community Agroecology Network) in Mesoamerica to reduce the ‘hungry months’ and provide income-generating alternatives to smallholder coffee farmers.