Research Paper 3, November 2005

Supply-side Measures for Raising Low Farm-Gate Prices of Tropical Beverage Commodities.

This year has seen how governments and individuals can respond with immense energy and generosity to relieve the suffering of people caught up in natural disasters. The man-made crisis affecting the markets of tropical commodities is every bit as devastating as any of these disasters, yet not only is there very little being done to address the problem but very few people are even aware of it.

This paper is concerned with the relationship between the conditions under which three beverage crops, coffee, cocoa and tea, are produced and traded, and the welfare of the men and women who produce these commodities. An examination of this topic, however, reveals several important misconceptions in current development thinking that extend beyond the limits of the beverage crop industry. Such an examination may also offer some guidance on what kind of measures need to be taken to significantly strengthen the economic prospects of the hundreds of millions of people who make their living from the land in developing countries


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