The second Saturday in May has been anointed as “World Fair Trade Day.” If you’re interested in buying fair trade coffee, consider what Lawrence Solomon, owner of the Green Beanery in Toronto, has to say about the fair trade marketing system. (In brief: not a good way to help or even to express care for coffee growers.)
Want more? Try the report of the Institute for Economic Affairs: “New research finds Fair Trade movement is a distraction, not a solution.”
In my view, western consumers cultivating a taste for quality coffees will do more for coffee growers than buying into the fair trade system.
[HT to Mungowitz for the Solomon link, who remarks on the rent-seeking economics that inherently will trouble these kinds of programs, and he also notes Dalibor Rohac's column on the topic in the New York Post.]