KYC Mondays: Fair Trade vs. Direct Trade

Randomly skimming through the packing of your coffee bag while waiting in the grocery line, you’ve probably seen the terms ‘Fair Trade’ and ‘Direct Trade’ written on it. 

These two words are frequently used interchangeably and sometimes we don't really know what they mean. As the word "Fair" sounds better, it's not always the case. But how can you differentiate between them? Let's find out how!

  • The aim of Fair Trade is to improve farmers’ lives and promoting equality amongst them. On the other hand, the objective of Direct Trade revolves around producing high-quality coffee as well as addressing the aspects where Fair Trade falls short.
  • Fair Trade involves paying workers justified wages and adopting sustainable strategies and ethical practices. In contrast, Direct Trade involves massively rewarding coffee-growing farmers.
  • Fair Trade roasters purchase beans from importers. In Direct Trade, coffee is purchased directly from farmers. This means no involvement by other parties, such as importers. This, in turn, reduces the number of intermediaries (or middlemen) between the farmer and roaster, ultimately placing more money into the farmer’s pocket.

Although both are great in their own aspects, we personally prefer Direct Trade. This is the one that we currently follow with our partners at @cenfrocafe and we are happy to see the impact of our involvement and how this organization has been able to have even a bigger impact in the farmer and families' lives.

“A huge difference in our lives is that now our children can actually go to school, our coffee is being recognized in the market for the quality we produce, we are receiving a fair price for our efforts, and our members can be proud again to be farmers.” - Anselmo Huaman Moreto, founding member and former president of the producer Board of Directors CENFROCAFE

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