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Will "We" Achieve the Millennium Development Goals with Small-Scale Coffee Growers and Their Cooperatives? A Case Study Evaluating Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Networks in Northern Nicaragua


This research brief examines the livelihoods of small-scale coffee growing households in Nicaragua, comparing those that are selling to certified "specialty" coffee markets with those selling to conventional markets. The study uses the Millennium Development Goals as established by the United Nations in 2000 as a framework for analyzing the current status of 177 Nicaraguan households involved in small-scale coffee production. The authors conclude that, despite some recent gains in terms of coffee price increases), small-scale growers—no matter whether they sell to certified or conventional markets—are in fact losing economic ground due to declining real prices and the rising costs of sustainable production, a situation that needs to be addressed by the coffee industry, certification groups, producer organizations, and governments.

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