We are often asked what it means to be direct trade and if direct trade and fair trade are the same thing. Simply stated, direct trade is providing the financial transaction for the coffee directly with the farmer. Fair trade is the focus on providing equity for the different participants in a given transaction. Direct trade may or may not lead to fair trade. At the same time fair trade may not necessarily lead to maximum financial benefit for the grower.
In the infographic above it shows how fair trade can potentially lead to a smaller profit for the farmer than direct trade. That does not mean the two should be pitted against each other. Cooperatives protect the farmers by establishing an interdependence that increases the economic benefits for all member parties and mitigates risks. In many cases this protection by the co-op might lead to smaller income for the individual farmer yet lead to greater economic viability by the sharing of costs. Also, dealing directly with the co-op is direct trade when you are dealing with the co-op at origin.
Sina Green is a direct trade company that will only partner with those who engage in fair trade principles – beginning at origin. It is an honor to work with our partners and know the more we support them the more we support local farmers. Drink more coffee!