Kopi, Cooperatives, and Compliance: A Case Study of Fair Trade in Aceh, Indonesia
A development initiative at its core, fair trade endeavors to provide better trading conditions for disadvantaged producers in the world market system, such as smallholder coffee farmers, who face a volatile market and prices that have yet to recover from a deep price crisis in the early 2000s. With the onset of labeling and certification, fair trade entered the mainstream by the late 1990s, and has continued to demonstrate strong growth in sales. Moreover, new producer organizations are becoming certified in an expanding number of countries, and fair trade coffee is expanding beyond its traditionally dominant productive center in Latin America. To explore how fair trade is established, and interacts with, new producer contexts, a case study was performed with five fair trade certified coffee cooperatives in Aceh, Indonesia, all of whom have gained certification within the last 10 years, was performed. This thesis sought to understand the particularities behind how fair trade reached Aceh, what factors influenced its implementation, and how coffee producers experience their participation in the fair trade movement. Further, particular attention was paid to the practice and formation of the cooperatives’ structures and policies; fair trade requires that coffee farmers are organized into democratically owned and governed cooperatives, an institution relatively unpracticed in Indonesia.