Identifying a living wage in the coffee industry is critical to establishing a baseline, that is to say, the minimum amount a farmer should be earning. But some traders and importers are going a step further and paying extra cents on top of premiums, to ensure farmers get more than just enough to survive. Organisations such as Fairtrade, conduct research to determine how much a producer in a particular country should receive for a decent standard of living.
Creating this standard isn’t just a humanitarian endeavour, but as more young people leave the industry, it is an investment in the future of coffee.
Recently, the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) announced that it will conduct a similar study to determine a living wage for coffee farmers in Peru. The ICO will conduct the study in collaboration with the Anker Research Institute, using Anker’s proprietary methodology, and some leading players in the coffee value chain.
Looking at Anker’s website, we were pleased to see a straightforward vision statement which simply states.
“Working people and their families everywhere have a decent standard of living.”Mission Statement from Anker Research Institute
If their methodology applies the same unpretentious approach, then it must be a good thing. The lack of bureaucracy might be due to the institute being run by a small team, including the founders, Richard and Martha Anker
The Ministry of Agricultural Development and Irrigation (MIDAGRI), “with the support of the Green Commodities Program (UNDP and Swiss Cooperation Agency SECO) are part of the group responsible for implementing Peru’s National Coffee Action Plan.” The aim of the plan is to promote the cost-effectiveness of the coffee sector and improve the quality of life of smallholder farmers.
According to the ministry, the first objective is to increase productivity through sustainable production systems by 2030. The second goal is to maintain consistent coffee quality. Peru also aims to “facilitate access of producers to appropriate financial services; improve positioning and commercialization of the Peruvian coffee, within national and international markets; occupy the fifth place in the ranking of relevant exporting countries, and increase internal consumption by 30%.”
Achieving these goals also requires a significant positive impact on the lives of producer families. Decent Income is one such initiative. “The initiative is embedded in a regional consultation process to better understand coffee farmers’ incomes and the gaps for them to earn at least a living income as a milestone towards prosperity.” The project, for which Peru is partnering with private and public sector leaders to support this research, will run throughout 2022.
Currently, Peru cultivates approximately 140,000 hectares of organic coffee from a total of 420,000 hectares, occupying second place in the ranking of organic coffee producers and exporting countries in the world.
Photo from: Annerella, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Annerella&action=edit&redlink=1