The Global Coffee Commodity Chain: Coffee Farmers in Costa Rica and Its “Ups and Downs”

Author: Pongratz Chander, Krisztina
Journal: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 8, Number 2 / November 2017

The volatility of the global coffee market has forced small-scale coffee farmers in Costa Rica to react. Some farmers support their coffee earnings with supplemental income they receive from other activities beyond agriculture; others diversify their fields with other crops they hope to sell in the market; and yet others, afraid that their impoverished condition will outlast them, are making great sacrifices in sending their children away to school so they themselves switch professions, away from their parents' coffee plots. In order to imagine a world where commodity producers can live decent productive lives, the current system of international trade require some modifications to give rural producers in the South a chance to take a fair role in the globalized economy. Commodity producer countries need a type of global trade that is equitable for all actors involved and must not be based on exploitative conditions where some enrich themselves at the expense of others. Long lasting peaceful trade must be profitable for all actors involved in business transactions, not just for those who control knowledge, technology, capital and marketing tools. A reformulation of the GCC is needed in order to achieve this equity. State and non-state actors must be included in the discussion of the global trade of commodities since government and its institutions have a critical role to play in the regulation of the free market of coffee.

Keywords: globalization, global economy, coffee production, small farmers, global commodity chain, coffee farmers.