Released: Filed Under: NCFCA Lincoln-Douglas
Several cases reference “fair trade coffee” as an application against the practice. While the practice has its problems, there is much good to be said about valuing fair trade in the international coffee trade.
In NCFCA Lincoln-Douglas Release #18: “Consensus” (NEG) (12/3/2018) by Drew Magness, the argument is raised:
Fair Trade’s most well-known endeavor is in the coffee industry. If anything about fair trade should be successful, it’d be this. According to The Property and Environment Research Center in 2011,
“That fair-trade cup of coffee we savour may not only fail to ease the lot of poor farmers, it may actually help to impoverish them, according to a study out recently from Germany’s University of Hohenheim. The study, which followed hundreds of Nicaraguan coffee farmers over a decade, concluded that farmers producing for the fair-trade market “are more often found below the absolute poverty line than conventional producers. Over a period of 10 years, our analysis shows that organic and organic-fair trade farmers have become poorer relative to conventional producers.”
This makes sense. Fair Trade producers have to pay substantial certification fees. The rich farmers can afford to pay those fees and so they reap the benefits of selling a premium priced product while the poorest lose out.
Fair Trade feels good, but it doesn’t do good.
Drew then goes into showing how bad the fair trade coffee industry is. This opposition brief challenges this argument, specifically that fair trade coffee is good. The brief also provides a couple of cards that highlights the most recent tariffs in the US trade war in regards to coffee. You should have plenty of evidence cards that may be read into the round.
 https://www.perc.org/2011/05/14/fair-trade-coffee-producers-often-end-up-poorer/ Lawrence Wilson, May 2011, Property and Environment Research Center “Fair Trade Coffee Producers Often End Up Poorer”
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