Fair trade coffee advocate encourages all to purchase beverage often

Andy Ofstehage

Andy Ofstehage

When I first arrived at the SDSU campus in 2003, we had one small Java City; now the campus boasts three locations. Coffee clearly has gained popularity. I believe the popularity of coffee and the growing enrollment at SDSU indicate that our campus is more than ready to embrace fair trade (FT) coffee. FT coffee is a social movement, which has responded to the decreasing prices received by producers for their coffee. Fair trade increases the prices received by producers through two avenues; a corresponding minimum price of $1.21 in addition to a premium of $0.10 for non-organic or $0.30 for organic certified coffee, and by eliminating middlemen along the supply chain. All FT coffee is sold through producer owned cooperatives; this results in a higher percentage of the price reaching the producer.

Fair trade coffee has benefits other than the price paid to producers as well. Producers enjoy increased marketability, environmental benefits from strict production guidelines and social benefits. While studying Peruvian coffee production in January of 2007, I witnessed first hand the dramatic effects of fair trade on farmers and in fact the entire community. The community enjoyed not only economic advantages but environmental and social advantages as well.

Over 200 university campuses throughout the United States provide FT coffee. Java City at SDSU offers a choice of FT coffee as well. I urge my fellow students to opt for the fair trade option whenever it is offered at Java City or anywhere else FT coffee is offered. This will demonstrate an increased demand for fair trade and thus encourage Java City to offer several fair trade options. If any students are interested in a fair trade student group, please contact Andrew Ofstehage at [email protected].

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