Did you realise that after oil, coffee is the second most used commodity in the world?
Putting aside some of the variations, such as ganoderma coffee, pure, natural coffee has a market estimated at over $70 billion each year.
Despite the huge market prices, and continually high demand, farmers in third world countries, such as Ethiopia which often struggles with famine, are payed a mere $0.03 for each cup of coffee that they provide for.
CAPITALISM, FREE MARKET ECONOMY OR EXPLOITATION?
People around the world are beginning to take notice of how little producers of coffee are being paid for their product.
To make that 3 cents, the farmer needs to harvest around 50 coffee beans, assuming the resulting coffee is finely ground.
A couple of years ago there was a film, ‘Black Gold’, that aired at the Sundance Film Festival.
The film exposed how the affluent countries in the West payed a pittance for coffee to people who are barely able to scrape enough money together to feed themselves or even attain basic shelter.
Companies in the US, UK and other parts of Europe are making huge amounts of profit on the back of third world farmers.
THATS A LOT OF CAFFEINE!
Considering that there are around 2 billion cups of coffee consumed every day, could these large multi national companies not afford to pay a fairer wage to the farmers?
Even if they doubled their payments they would be paying a tiny, tiny fraction of what labour in their own countries would cost and their profits would still be huge.
Many companies source their coffee beans directly from Ethiopia who produce around two thirds of the world’s supply.
By paying such a low rate to the farmers who spend all day hand picking a small number of beans are they doing what’s best for the consumer, their shareholders, or are they just taking advantage of a nation that relies on them too much for their income?
What do you think – is there a coffee bean scandal or is it just market forces and world commerce operating as the laws of economics dictate?