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Confronting the Coffee Crisis: Can Fair Trade, Organic, and Specialty Coffees Reduce Small-Scale Farmer Vulnerability in Northern Nicaragua?

World Develpment, vol. 33, n°3, pp.497-511, 2005 Elsevier

Christopher M. Bacon,, 2005

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Summary :

This paper links changing global coffee markets to opportunities and vulnerabilities for sustaining small-scale farmer livelihoods in northern Nicaragua. Changing governance structures, corporate concentration, oversupply, interchangeable commodity grade beans, and low farm gate prices characterize the crisis in conventional coffee markets. In contrast, certified Fair Trade and organic are two alternative forms of specialty coffee trade and production that may offer opportunities for small-scale producers. A research team surveyed 228 farmers to measure the impact of sales on organic and Fair Trade markets. The results suggest that participation in organic and Fair Trade networks reduces farmers’ livelihood vulnerability.

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