Thanks for the story and for tackling a rather complex topic. A few facts around the global Fairtrade system and Fairtrade International were mis-stated or incorrect.
• The article states, ‘...fair trade cuts out the middle man and provides a floor price of $1.26 per pound...’. On March 31, 2011, the Fairtrade Minimum Price for washed Arabica was raised to $1.40/lb with an organic differential of $0.30/lb. Buyers of Fairtrade coffee must pay the market price or the Minimum Price, whichever is higher at the time of contract signing.
• The article states, ‘...with a 5-cent premium above market prices. Fairtrade International then funnels part of this money into economic development programs... .’ The Fairtrade Premium, which is paid on top of the final price and goes directly (not through Fairtrade International) to the producer organization for community investment or business development, was increased from $0.10/lb to $0.20/lb with $0.05/lb earmarked for productivity and quality improvements. (Please find full details of the Price and Premium announcement here http://www.fairtrade.net/single_view1.html…).
• The article states that ‘another requirement is that farms rely solely on farm-owner labor and their families, not outside employees.’ This is incorrect and you can find details on hired labor in small producer organizations in the Small Producer Organization Standard linked to below.
• Also the article states that Fairtrade producer organizations ‘must be cooperatives,’ whereas the official Fairtrade Standard for Small Producer Organizations states that producers be 'organized.' There is no requirement in the international Fairtrade Standard for Small Producer Organizations stipulating a particular type/form of organization as long as it meets the required criteria, which can be found in the Standard for Small Producer Organizations here http://www.fairtrade.net/fileadmin/user_up….
Kyle Freund at Fairtrade International
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