Posts Tagged ‘CEPCO’

The following article was written by Phyllis Robinson and Lilian Autler of Grassroots International.

Anita Cecila Garcia Cruz, of Confianza community
Member of the CEPCO General Assembly (photo courtesy of Grassroots International)


Times are tough for rural communities in Mexico right now – as they are for small farmers throughout the world. Fair Trade coffee co-operatives have long offered their members concrete benefits – higher prices, credit, social programs, political clout, access to international solidarity networks, etc. These benefits have enabled many participating farmers to improve their economic conditions and their quality of life. In today’s economic climate, however, small farmers are taking the proverbial “one step forward, two steps back.” International trade agreements, national agriculture and economic policies that favor agribusiness and multi-nationals over small businesses and local communities, are making it harder for farmers to stay on their land, afford basic food staples, and care for their families.


Perhaps today more than ever, the chances of survival for a small-scale farmer are greatly multiplied if, rather than going it alone, they join with others to form a co-operative. If that co-operative happens to grow organic coffee and is certified Fair Trade, even better. Alternative Trade Organizations used to boast the slogan “Trade not Aid,” conveying the message that Fair Trade could change the balance of power and enable small farmers to find market niches and compete successfully in the marketplace. There’s something powerful in that message, but unfortunately political and economic power seems to be increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few; not the other way around. (more…)

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