Coffee farmers

Coffee is one of the world's most popular beverages and 80% of it is produced by 25 million smallholders.

Coffee farmers in Sumatra, IndonesiaAround 125 million people worldwide depend on coffee for their livelihoods. It is the most valuable and widely traded tropical agricultural product and is mainly produced by smallholder farmers. Many of them however are unable to earn a reliable living from the coffee they produce. 

Coffee is well known for being a boom and bust commodity. Global coffee production varies from year to year according to weather conditions, disease and other factors, resulting in a coffee market that is inherently unstable and characterised by wide fluctuations in price. This price volatility has significant consequences for those who depend on coffee for their livelihood, making it difficult for growers to predict their income for the coming season and budget for their household and farming needs. 

The coffee supply chain is complex as beans pass through the hands of growers, traders, processors, exporters, roasters, retailers until finally reaching the consumer. Most farmers have little idea of where their coffee goes or what price it ends up selling for. The more lucrative export of green coffee – beans that have been processed ready for export and roasting – is only an option for farmers who are able to form co-operatives, purchase processing equipment and organise export, or hire a contractor to carry out these services. 

How is Fairtrade making things better?

Fairtrade was started in response to the dire struggles of Mexican coffee farmers following the collapse of world coffee prices in the late 1980s. With Fairtrade, certified coffee producer organisations are guaranteed to receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for their coffee, which aims to cover their costs of production and act as a safety net when market prices fall below a sustainable level. Through their producer organisations, farmers also receive the additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community improvements. At Fairtrade we care about improving quality, and Fairtrade coffee farmers must use at least 25 per cent of the Fairtrade Premium to enhance productivity and quality, for example by investing in processing facilities. In 2016, certified coffee farmers earned an estimated £65.9 million in Fairtrade Premiums that were invested in farmer services and community projects. Watch this video about the impact of Fairtrade coffee.

Read more about the history of coffee, challenges facing coffee farmers and what Fairtrade is doing to make a difference.

Meet Ketra, a Fairtrade Coffee Farmer

Meet Ketra Kyosiimire, a farmer and accountant from Uganda. She explains how Fairtrade has empowered her and her community.

Where to buy Fairtrade coffee

When you choose Fairtrade coffee, not only can farmers build a better quality of life for their families and communities, they can invest in growing better quality beans too.

Find out where to buy Fairtrade coffee.

Our Coffee

  • ACODIHUE worker

    ACODIHUE, Guatemala

    ACODIHUE is located in the Cuchumatanes Mountains of Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

  • anna micheal

    Anna Michael Mlay - KDCU Ltd, Tanzania

    Anna is employed at the KDCU head office where she is responsible for all issues relating to employment. 

  • Coffee

    ASPROTIMANA, Colombia

    Through coffee and the development of the cooperative, ASPROTIMANA has offered the families hope for a better future.

  • Cecovasa

    CECOVASA, Peru

    CECOVASA is a secondary-level organisation made up of 10 primary co-operatives which represent 5,049 Quechua and Aymara peasant families.

  • COMSA worker

    COMSA, Honduras

    Café Organica Marcala (COMSA) is an association of small-scale organic coffee producers located in the La Paz region of western Honduras.

  • Coomprocom

    COOMPROCOM, Nicaragua

    COOMPROCOM (Cooperativa Multisectorial de Productores de Café Orgánico de Matagalpa) is a coffee co-operative located in central Nicaragua.

  • COOPEAGRI WORKER

    COOPEAGRI, Costa Rica

    COOPEAGRI is a large co-operative located in the Perez Zeledon region in the south of Costa Rica. Coffee is its main cash crop.

  • Sack of coffee beans

    CUDLIEMNONG, Vietnam

    Cud Lie Mnong Fairtrade Agriculture Cooperative (CUDLIEMNONG) is located in Cu Mgar, in the central highlands of Vietnam.

  • kerala worker

    Fair Trade Alliance Kerala, India

    FTAK is a small farmers’ organisation located in South India that grows coffee and many other products including cashew nuts and tropical spices.

  • FEDECOCAGUA

    FEDECOCAGUA, Guatemala

    FEDECOCAGUA became Fairtrade certified in 2000, though some member cooperatives have been selling to the Fairtrade market for more than 10 years.

  • fiech coffee

    FEDERACIÓN INDÍGENA ECOLÓGICA DE CHIAPAS, Mexico

    FIECH has over 3,300 members, primarily indigenous famers and their families.

  • gerardo-coocafe

    Gerardo Arias Camacho - COOCAFE, Costa Rica

    Gerardo Arias Camacho is a coffee farmer and a board member of his local Llano Bonito coffee co-operative.

  • Gikanda

    Gikanda Farmers Cooperative Society

    Gikanda Farmers Co-operative Society (Gikanda) is located in the Mathira Division of Mathira East District in the Central Province of Kenya.

  • Gumutindo worker

    Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative Enterprises Ltd, Uganda

    Gumutindo coffee co-operative was formed to improve the livelihoods of its farmers, who rely on coffee for their main income.

  • JustineWatalunga

    Justine Watalunga - Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative Enterprise Ltd, Uganda

    Justine Watalunga is an organic coffee farmer and the treasurer of one of 11 societies affiliated to Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative Enterprise Ltd.

  • kdcu farmer

    KDCU, Tanzania

    Karagwe District Cooperative Union Ltd (KDCU) is an organisation of small scale coffee growers located in the Karagwe District of northwest Tanzania.

  • Kibinge

    Kibinge Coffee Farmers’ Co-operative Society, Uganda

    The coffee farmers of Kibinge in central Uganda are helping many of us get our day off to a good start.

  • coffee bean close up

    KPD, Tanzania

    Kaderes Peasants Development Plc (KPD) is a coffee co-operative located in Karagwe, northwest Tanzania.

  • Manarcadu representative

    Manarcadu Social Service Society, India

    Manarcadu Social Service Society (MASS) is a co-operative with a membership of 837 small farmers who it helps and supports with all their farming needs.

  • Mzuzu farmer

    Mzuzu Coffee Planters Co-operative Union, Malawi

    Since 1999, Mzuzu Coffee Planters Co-operative Union believe that increased production of their award-winning coffee would improve their livelihood.

  • Neknasi

    Neknasi Coffee Growers Cooperative Society, Papa New Guinea

    Founded in 2008, the Neknasi Coffee Growers Cooperative Society has a membership of 422 coffee farmers located in Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea. 

  • ocfcu workers

    Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union, Ethiopia

    Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union (OCFCU), the largest Fairtrade coffee producer in Ethiopia, was founded in 1999.

  • Soppexcca worker

    SOPPEXCCA, Nicaragua

    SOPPEXCCA was formed in 1997 by a group of 62 farmers to improve the lives of its members and their communities to build a sustainable organisation.

  • Teresa Riviera Palacios

    Teresa Riviera Palacios

    Teresa Riviera Palacios has been the president of the co-operative Dantanli Los Robles since 2012, and has been farming coffee for many years. 

  • Raw coffee beans

    $name

    Coffee is one of the world's most popular beverages and 80% of it is produced by 25 million smallholders.

  • UCA-San-Juan-worker

    UCA SAN JUAN, Nicaragua

    UCA was founded in 1992 by members of 11 village co-operatives.

  • UPROAGRO coffee beans

    UPROAGRO, Bolivia

    Unión de Productores Agropecuarios (UPROAGRO) is an association of small-scale coffee growers located in northern Bolivia.