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Down to Earth

Colombia's coffee crisis: Is your latte ethical?

Never has so much coffee been consumed around the world - more than two billion cups per day. The market has exploded in value and is now worth $200 billion. But as the coffee business becomes increasingly lucrative, farmers in Colombia are struggling to make ends meet.

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Production costs are high but the market price continues to fall, year after year. In September last year, a rattled coffee industry hit crisis point when the price per pound plummeted below a symbolic one US dollar, compared to three dollars in 2010.

Roasters and distributors, on the other hand, pocket big profits, doubling their margin in 20 years. That’s why farming cooperatives in Colombia are increasingly common, as they ensure producers earn a decent living for their trade.

The Down to Earth team travelled to the Sierra Nevada mountains, where both Fairtrade and organic coffee is thriving.

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