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What Tanzania's Coffee Farmers Can Teach The World: A Performance-Based Look At The Fair Trade-Free Trade Debate


Questions remain about the effectiveness of fair trade, especially in comparison with free trade approaches to development. Both strategies seek to benefit smallholder farmers in lower-income countries, who are vulnerable to declining and fluctuating commodity prices and rising production costs. This study examines two prominent market-based interventions, Fairtrade certification and TechnoServe business development, as they are implemented at two coffee producer organizations in Tanzania. Qualitative and secondary quantitative data were collected using rapid appraisal methodology during three months of field research. The data were analyzed using the sustainable livelihood framework. This study concludes that both intervention strategies yield potentially valuable results for smallholders in multiple domains, but each is distinctly suited to specific market conditions. Implications of the study’s findings are discussed in terms of an emerging consensus on intervention strategies. 

Bradley D. Parrish, Valerie A. Luzadis & William R. Bentley

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Read More: Agriculture, Development, Trade, Tanzania, Africa

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