Fair Trade Coffee. Perceptions of the Fair Trade coffee growers of Marsella. By: Peter Andréa. (Source: www. - PDF

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Fair Trade Coffee Perceptions of the Fair Trade coffee growers of Marsella (Source: www. By: Peter Andréa Fair Trade Coffee Perceptions of the Fair Trade coffee growers of Marsella

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Fair Trade Coffee Perceptions of the Fair Trade coffee growers of Marsella (Source: www. By: Peter Andréa Fair Trade Coffee Perceptions of the Fair Trade coffee growers of Marsella Latin American and Caribbean Studies University of Utrecht Master thesis Peter Andréa ( ) Supervisor: Kees Koonings Utrecht, 20 Augustus Abstract Fair Trade was set in motion to support the small scale coffee growers who struggle with neo-liberal policies. With a minimum price and offering a social premium attempts Fair Trade to improve the livelihoods and lives of the coffee growers and their communities. Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producers in the world and the production is dominated by small scale growers. How does Fair Trade offers those Colombian small scale growers a sustainable development? This is a case study of a small coffee community in Colombia named: Marsella. The perceptions about social and economic improvement due to Fair Trade differ among the cafeteros. Some see social improvements other small economic improvements but in general is the perception that Fair Trade has a marginal positive impact. Besides are social capital and social identity of the Fair Trade coffee growers investigated. However the cafeteros see themselves as free and independent do some forms of social capital have influence on their social identity, but Fair Trade very little. Nevertheless does Fair Trade have a positive influence on the lives of the cafeteros. Keywords: Fair Trade, globalization, neo-liberalism, cafeteros, poverty and inequality, small scale growers, social capital, social identity, social justice, Colombia, coffee, 3 Table of contents Introduction A theoretical framework for an understanding of Fair Trade Globalization and Neo-liberalism Neo-liberalism, poverty and inequality Neo-liberalism and Market-Led Agrarian Reform Peasants in Latin America Fair Trade and development for coffee growers in Latin America Social justice, social identity and social capital of Fair Trade coffee growers in Latin America Coffee and Fair Trade in Colombia The Fair Trade producer organization: CafiMarsella Foundation of CafiMarsella Structure of CafiMarsella CafiMarsella and Fair Trade Why and how to associate with CafiMarsella? Current situation Economic and social improvement due to Fair Trade Economic improvement due to Fair Trade Fair Trade and the income of the cafetero The Fair Trade social premium Fair Trade and position in trade Social improvement due to Fair Trade Awareness and Fair Trade Self-respect of the associates of CafiMarsella and Fair Trade Causes Fair Trade poverty reduction? Social capital and Fair Trade coffee producer Social capital between cafeteros themselves and CafiMarsella Cafeteros and the Comite del cafeteros de Marsella 4.3 Juntas de veredas Social capital way out of poverty? Social identity of Fair Trade coffee growers Identification with CafiMarsella and Fair Trade Identification with Colombia Identification with Marsella Identification with religion Identification with campesinos Conclusions Bibliography Introduction Our mission is to connect disadvantaged producers and consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower producers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives 1 This is the contemporary mission of the Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO). It is a critical reaction to the neoliberal policies that during the 1970s and 1980s were adopted by countries worldwide, with the conviction that it would bring prosperity for everybody (Harris et Al 2000:10). It turned out to be a misunderstanding of many governments but as well of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Many scholars (Wade 2004; Scholte 2005:11; Harris et Al 2000:59; Shimko 2009:174; Portes and Hoffman 2003:62) state that neoliberal policies worsened the situation for the poor and it widened the gap between rich and poor. The poor of the South lack the capacity to compete on equal terms with the North, because they lack technology, skilled labor and financial capital (Harris et Al 2000:10). The Fair Trade movement reacted with the strategy trade not aid in an attempt to elevate the producers from the South from their poverty (Raynolds et al. 2004:1109). The origins of the pursuit of a fairer trade can be traced back in the 1940s and 1950s when Christian NGOs started with selling handicrafts form the poor South to support them. But this form of Fair Trade remained marginal. In 1988 Max Havelaar was founded in the Netherlands and with it the fundament of the contemporary Fair Trade Labeling Organization. They responded on the request of Mexican coffee growers who wanted a fairer price so they could help themselves instead of asking for help. Fair Trade started to connect producer and consumer, with result. Max Havelaar started with a certification for coffee and in the next decades was it followed by Fair Trade initiatives for other products. Worldwide, there are currently nineteen Fair Trade initiatives but coffee is still the biggest product of Fair Trade. The coffee Fair Trade certification offers small scale coffee growers the opportunity to sell their coffee for a higher price if they at least; organize themselves in a producer organization; not make use of child or forced labor; and produce on in environmentally friendly way (FLO 2011). By giving the coffee farmers a higher price for their coffee and a social premium, the Fair Trade certification aims on a sustainable development for the poor in the developing countries. Is the strategy of trade not aid the egg of Columbus in reducing poverty and inequality or just a wellintentioned aim? The big coffee companies criticize Fair Trade because according to them they ignore the market forces of supply and demand. Besides them are as well scholars who have their critical thoughts about Fair Trade. Harford (2012:244) states that there is an overproduction of coffee and for that reason can t Fair Trade provide a substantial difference for all the small scale coffee growers. Haight (2011:77-78) calls Fair Trade an incomplete model because the aims of Fair Trade doesn t have the desired effect on the producers. Among other things she remarks the wrong use of the social premium. On the websites of Max Havelaar and FLO can everybody meet the producers and read about the success stories of Fair Trade with quotes and photos of smiling producers. Those success stories and the critique on Fair Trade fueled the desire in me to meet the Fair Trade producers by myself, to see how and if Fair Trade can make a positive difference for producers of the South. I decided to do the investigation about coffee because it is the first and the biggest product with the Fair Trade certification. The decision of Colombia for the research location was mainly taken because of two 1 (July, 2012) 6 reasons. Firstly, because of the importance of coffee for many years in the Colombian economy and secondly, because it is one of the biggest coffee producing countries in the world. Not surprisingly those facts gave me the impression that the livelihood of many people in Colombia depend on coffee. Besides that the Colombian coffee production is dominated by small scale producers and many of those became victims of the free trade and free market of coffee. The Fair Trade certification gave them the opportunity to improve their livelihood and create sustainable development in their communities. Thus very interesting what the perceptions about Fair Trade of those coffee producers are and important for me to build an argument about the influence of Fair Trade at the producers side. In Colombia I chose to do my research in Marsella and I used the Fair Trade producer organization CafiMarsella for this thesis. For the research I formulated the following central question: How do the coffee farmers of CafiMarsella perceive social and economic improvement due to Fair Trade and how does that relate to their social identity? To can answer the central question I formulated five research questions. First, how is the CafiMarsella organized? Second, what is the role of social capital of CafiMarsella in Fair Trade? Third, how does Fair Trade improve the situation of members of CafiMarsella economically? Fourth, how does Fair Trade improve the situation of members of CafiMarsella socially? And fifth, what is the social identity of Fair Trade coffee growers? I chose to involve the notion social capital in the research because Fair Trade requires that the coffee growers are organized in a producer organization. Social capital is about making and maintaining relationships to achieve things that by yourself is very difficult (Field 2008:1). So that makes it interesting if the producer organization offers a useful social capital that is available to the coffee growers. As well I chose to engage social identity in the research, because by using the capabilities approach of Amartya Sen (in Kuklys 2005:10) can social identity be a capability to achieve what somebody wants and social identity can derive from social capital. Social identity is about the we and the them (Worchel 1998:2-3), so do the Fair Trade certified coffee growers see themselves as the we and the non-certified coffee growers as the them? This thesis is about my fieldwork that I completed in the municipality of Marsella. I lived for sixteen weeks in the only significant town of the municipality with the same name in the department of Risaralda. Coffee plays an important role in the local community and the majority of the little more than inhabitants are directly or indirectly related to coffee due to family and/or their business. On the high schools in Marsella they even teach about coffee, so escaping from coffee is difficult in Marsella. In Marsella the cooperative CafiMarsella is the producer organization that is certified with Fair Trade. Through this Marsella has 282 Fair Trade coffee growers, of those are the big majority small scale producers. After a tip from an old man on the streets of Pereira I stranded in Marsella. First I visited the Comite del Cafeteros de Marsella and explained my research intentions. Directly they offered me their support and a workspace on their office. The chief of the Comite gave me a tour in town and presented me at CafiMarsella who as well offered support. Like they say: a good start is half the battle the rest of the research proceeded well too. With a list received from CafiMarsella with names of associates I visited several coffee growers (known as: cafeteros) to introduce myself and ask if they wanted to cooperate with my research. During those introduction visits I was accompanied by a Colombian student and a resident of Marsella, who did an internship at the comite. Afterward I visited those cafeteros on my own and it resulted in long interviews with the friendly and hospitable cafeteros in the beautiful landscape of Marsella. The visits to the cafeteros were often pleasant because it wasn t always only for an interview. Not uncommon was it to be invited for lunch or dinner and as well 7 I picked coffee on the steep and slippery slopes to experience a workday of a cafetero. All together gave me a good insight in their lives as cafeteros. Although the associates of CafiMarsella aren t all small scale producers I visited mainly the smaller producers, this because Fair Trade aims to improve the situation for small scale producers. Besides the interviews with the associated cafeteros I did as well interviews with staff members of CafiMarsella and of the Comite. Another important input for this thesis were the many informal conversations with associated cafeteros, non associated cafeteros, privately owned coffee buyers, relatives of cafeteros and all other residents of Marsella who are in one or another way are involved with the coffee business. Further I did participant observation, like I mentioned earlier with the visits of the farms and as well at meetings of CafiMarsella and the Comite. It gave me a better understanding about the social capital of the cafeteros. This all together gives me a good picture of the lives of Fair Trade coffee growers in Marsella. Off course this research has its limitations, because it is about perceptions of the cafeteros is it subjective and it is a case study of the social economic impact of one coffee community. With this thesis I attempt to add an anthropological perspective to science about Fair Trade. This thesis shall give an inside perspective about how coffee growers perceive economic and social improvement due to Fair Trade in their own lives and their community. It has both a social and a theoretical relevance because it can be useful knowledge in the struggle of reducing poverty and inequality. Moreover I present what kind of social capital Colombian coffee growers have and what role it plays in their sustainable development. It is relevant because there is discussion about the role of social capital in social and economic development, many scholars (Blair and Carroll 2008:42; Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi 2009:51; Geiger-Oneto and Arnould 2011:280) see positive relations but another scholar (Kay 2006:465) doubts that. With this thesis I attempt to add an anthropological perspective to that discussion. Besides that I show how the associates of CafiMarsella relate their social identity to Fair Trade. It has a theoretical relevance because it could be a capability in what a coffee grower wants to be or do. This thesis starts with a theoretical framework of Fair Trade to get an understanding of the concepts that are related to Fair Trade. First are described globalization, neo-liberalism, poverty and inequality, state-led agrarian reform and market-led agrarian reform. Further I write about peasants and Fair Trade in Latin America. After that the concepts social justice, social capital and social identity are treated for Latin American Fair Trade coffee growers. The theoretical frame will show that neo liberalism is not the same as globalization although they sometimes are perceived as equal. Those concepts are important to understand why Fair Trade was set in motion. Peasants of the South became victims of neo liberal policies and the Fair Trade movement is a critical response on it. After the theory follow the chapters about the research data. In the first data chapter I described the Fair Trade producer organization CafiMarsella. CafiMarsella is a cooperative that is certified since three years with Fair Trade. Afterwards in chapter three I described the economic and social improvements due to Fair Trade based on the perceptions of the coffee growers. The perceptions of the coffee growers about the social and economic improvement are diverse and many do not know much about Fair Trade. In chapter four I described what kind of social capital the coffee growers have and how they use it. The coffee growers have several forms of social capital like CafiMarsella and the National Coffee Federation but are in general rather independent. In the last chapter of research data I described the social identities of the coffee growers. The most coffee growers are proud of their Colombian coffee 8 but do not identify themselves with Fair Trade. The final chapter I conclude my thesis, I give an answer on the research question based on the research data and theory. Fair Trade does have positive influences on the lives of the coffee growers although those are often not perceived by the coffee growers. 9 1. A theoretical framework for an understanding of Fair Trade In this theoretical framework the concepts are described that are at the basis of the research. To answer the central question it is important to understand all concepts related to Fair Trade. The theoretical framework is build like a funnel, in macro and meso levels. First on a macro level are the concepts globalization and neo liberalism described those are important to understand why the Fair Trade initiative was set in motion. Because this thesis is about a coffee growing town in Colombia is zoomed in on a meso level about poverty and inequality among Latin American peasants due to neo liberalism and market-led agrarian reform. This is important to frame the situation of the Latin American peasants. It is followed by a paragraph about how Fair Trade attempts to bring development for Latin American coffee growers. As well are the concepts of social justice, social capital and social identity described because those are important to get an understanding of the Latin American Fair Trade coffee grower. Finally at the end of the funnel are all those concepts described about the situation in Colombia. 1.1 Globalization and Neo-liberalism Globalization is an elusive concept and therefore defined by scholars in many ways. It is used in both popular and academic literature to describe a process, a condition, a system, a force and an age (Steger 2010:90). Robertson (1992:8) defined globalization as a concept that refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole. During the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century many scholars attempted to pin down what globalization is. Scholte (2002:8-13) mentions four broad definitions of globalization. The first is globalization in terms of internationalization; the growing interdependence between countries through trade and capital flows. Second is in terms of liberalization; an open and borderless economy due by the removed government restrictions on movement of resources. Third is the use in terms of what Scholte calls universalization; the spreading of experiences and objects all over the world like Barbie dolls, cars, food, and so on. The fourth is globalization defined as westernization; this means the social structures of modernity are spread all over the world like capitalism, rationalism, industrialism, urbanism, and so on. Enterprises as McDonalds, CNN and Coca-Cola are often understood as westernization. These social structures often destroy existent cultures and local self-determination. According to Scholte (2002:8) these are cul-de-sac s, dead end definitions. He thinks it is not helpful to treat globalization as an equivalent to internationalization, or liberalization, or universalization or westernization. To see it as an equivalent is only replacing an existent word and/or it fails to bring new understandings. Therefore Scholte suggests a fifth definition of globalization, defining it in terms of supraterritoriality or deterritorialization. Thus globalization entails a reconfiguration of geographic social space that is no longer mapped to specific territorial places, territorial distances and territorial borders what causes that people become more able to engage physically, legally, culturally, and psychologically with each other in one world (Scholte 2002:14). According to Steger (2010:12), one of the reasons that globalization remains a contested concept is because there exists no scholarly consensus on what kind of social process constitute its essence. He suggests that globalization refers to a multidimensional set of social processes that create, multiply, stretch and intensify worldwide social interdependencies and exchanges while at the same time fostering in people a growing awareness of deepening connections between the local and the distant (Steger 2005:13). Like Scholte Steger avoids using more economic terms as internationalization, 10 liberalization, universalization and westernization to define globalization. Both see globalization as a social process. It appears that they evolved the definition of Robertson that he formulated in When scholars define globalization in terms of liberalization it has a lot of overlap with neoliberalism. But according to Scholte (2002:32-33) globalization and neo-liberalism are not the same. So what is neo-liberalism? It is a policy framework with
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