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Milwaukee’s Kickapoo Coffee Roasters have announced their new minimum price guarantee, setting an above-average lower limit to the amount they will pay to the farmers for green coffee. In a press release posted to their website, Kickapoo stated they will pay no less than $2.75 FOB (free on board, a price that includes all steps of production leading up to export: farming, processing, bagging, etc), which according to the release is “currently the highest published minimum price [they] are aware of in the industry.”

The press release notes that the price of coffee is set by the commodity futures market and has remained static for the last 40 years. Adjusting for inflation, the price paid for coffee in 1975 would equal $6-7 in today’s dollars. The new $2.75 FOB minimum is just part of an ongoing strategy that works towards providing fair pay to farmers:

We are committed to working with cooperatives and exporters who share our values in terms of farmer compensation-those who work transparently, with the end goal of delivering high returns back to the farmers who are doing the majority of the work. This means we will only purchase coffee from privately owned washing stations if they are willing to open their books and show us how they are paying smallholder farmers on the farmgate level, providing us with a price breakdown back from FOB.

We are also committed to reviewing our minimum price and adjusting for inflation over time. Continuing to pay the same price without adjustment, year after year, means paying farmers less. We will proactively adjust our prices on a regular basis to ensure coffee production means more to the farmers we depend on.

Kickapoo notes that this new minimum isn’t revolutionary and that price is only one component of a “sustainable supply chain-community infrastructure,” but that it is a step in the right direction toward bringing prices up to sustainable levels for farmers.

Kickapoo Coffee joins a growing number of roasters sharing their green prices to consumers. Minimum price guarantees are another step in promoting transparency and increasing wages for farmers to sustainable levels.

The full press release can be found here.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

*top image via Kickapoo

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