Coffee Tree Farming

Financial Care for Coffee Farmers

Price of Coffee

The speculative, worldwide, coffee market creates boom and bust cycles that wreak havoc in the lives of coffee farmers. The Rogers Family Company has taken a unique and compassionate approach to this problem. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the price of coffee was at an all time low, causing many farmers to go out of business after their banks foreclosed on their land.

Coffee Country

Farms were left vacant and the coffee trees were left to die. Workers who depended on the farms left their families and migrated to overcrowded and polluted cities. While a few of the more conscientious coffee roasters occasionally threw a few cents at the problem, most importers and roasters did nothing but enjoy high profit margins from contracts that were fixed to historically low, coffee commodity prices.

Coffee Tree Farming

Rather than take advantage of the situation, we negotiated fixed price contracts directly with farmers that guaranteed a profit for the farm. This way, the farmers could stay in business and workers could continue to earn a living near their homes and families. Today, coffee prices are on the rise, but our fixed contracts ensure long-term relationships and farm viability. This leads to well-tended coffee trees that produce only the very highest quality coffee beans.

Rogers Family Fairly Traded Coffee

When you see the Rogers Family “Fairly Traded” certificate on your coffee bag, you can be assured that this coffee was purchased with care and concern for coffee communities around the world.

 

6 comments

  1. Eric Strayer 6 September, 2012 at 08:30 Reply

    Actually, this sentence seems to be a contradiction: “Today, coffee prices are on the rise, but our fixed contracts ensure long-term relationships and farm viability.”

    Doesn’t that mean that when prices are high (now?) that these farmers are not benefitting from the market price? Of course, on the other hand, I admit that stability and security may outweigh this event.

    Thoughts?

    es

    • RogersCoffee 6 September, 2012 at 10:17 Reply

      Dear Eric,

      Thank you for visiting our blog!

      In regards to your inquiry, we have direct relationships with all of our coffee farmers in which we have negotiated fixed-rate contracts that pay them fair prices. Fixed-rate contracts are not entirely reflective of the market price for coffee. However, we do take the current state of the market into account when arriving at a fair price.

      Farmers may not benefit completely from high market coffee prices, but these are almost always temporary events. On the other hand, our practice protects farmers from extended periods of low prices, which has happened quite a lot. What we are trying to do is not only provide a fair and livable price that guarantees profit, but “smooth out” these fluctuations, so the farmer can budget for the year, and the future. For instance, if Brasil, the largest producer in the world, has a huge crop and drives prices down, this impacts the little guys in other countries.

      Oftentimes, when selling on the open market, the farmer will have to borrow money when, at harvest time, prices are low. And the cost of borrowing is 18%-20%! This can create a problem from which a farmer can never recover.

      We ensure that each farm from which we purchase coffee can remain in business and realize a profit, and that each worker can maintain a comfortable standard of living, whether the market price for coffee is soaring or tanking.

      Our prices have been higher than market prices for 10 of the last 12 years. We have helped thousands of farmers, and tens of thousands of people, over this time.

      Please contact Jim Rogers directly if you have further questions at jdrogers2@rogersfamilyco.com.

      • Eric Strayer 6 September, 2012 at 15:24 Reply

        Good answer. Heck, good that you actually answered! I guess as long as we are stuck in the current “late capitalist”* paradigm this is as good as it will get. I still sense “hedging” or betting against the producer, but your tenor indicates otherwise. Oh, nice coffee by the way and surprisingly competitively priced.

        Thanks again for the response.

        es

        *More on that later if ever.

      • Eric Strayer 7 September, 2012 at 08:25 Reply

        It seems that being still stuck in the economic paradigm we are in, you are doing the best you can. Kudos.
        I like the coffee.
        I like your politics.
        I’m not keen on your packaging. Far too much plastic, at least in the grocery store product. I don’t know if I have an answer, but there are a hell of a lot of smart people in the world. Maybe ask.

        Best, and thanks for listening.

        es

        • RogersCoffee 7 September, 2012 at 13:29 Reply

          Thanks for sharing your perspectives, Eric. I don’t like it either. It is a major letdown. However, it is important that the coffee stay fresh. Current technology only allows that with plastics. We have been working on corn-based packaging for the last few years. We don’t have it yet, but hopefully soon.

          Sincerely,
          Jim Rogers
          jdrogers2@rogersfamilyco.com

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