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John D. Messier

In: 21st Century Economics: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 49: The Economics of Fair Trade

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The Economics of Fair Trade
The economics of fair trade

After oil, coffee is the most traded commodity in the world. Like all commodities, coffee prices have historically been quite volatile. Coffee, unlike other internationally important commodities, is frequently produced by small family-run operations. As such, volatile and unpredictable coffee prices leave coffee producers in a vulnerable and precarious position. Furthermore, coffee is an important source of export earnings and foreign exchange for many countries, particularly developing countries. This is due to the geography of coffee. Coffee is a tree crop that thrives when grown at an altitude along the equator, situating it principally in developing countries. Fluctuating coffee prices create income uncertainty for households and nations that rely on coffee earnings.

There is a long history ...

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