Fair Trade Coffee

The ‘Latte Revolution’? Winners and Losers in the Restructuring of the Global Coffee Marketing Chain

Stefano Ponte
Centre for Development Research, Copenhagen University
June 1, 2001

This paper uses a Global Commodity Chain (GCC) approach to examine the transformation of the global coffee marketing chain and its repercussions in developing countries. It focuses on shifts that have occurred in the last two decades in the international coffee trade regime, on regulation at the domestic level in producing countries, and on changes in corporate strategies and consumption patterns. These are assessed in relation to the evolution of the organisation of the chain, its mode of governance, the ownership characteristics at various ‘nodes’, and the distribution of income along the chain. The paper also explores how the restructuring of the coffee chain has affected different groups of actors and suggests some policy directions to address the emerging imbalances. Finally, it assesses the contribution offered by the coffee case study to wider debates that are taking place in the GCC literature.

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