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Supporting Farmers’ Livelihoods

Living Income Pricing

Ending poverty for coffee farmers.

80% of the world’s coffee farmers live below the poverty line and current prices paid to farmers do not meet farmers’ livelihood needs. Living Income Pricing interrupts farmer poverty by paying prices that close the living income gap for coffee producers.
Bellwether partners with farmers and organizations at origin to collect primary data on cost of production, land size, and productivity to establish Living Income Pricing for coffee. Origin‑specific living income benchmarks are used to establish a minimum price for coffee that supports farmer livelihoods. Bellwether then signs contracts directly with producers based on this new Living Income Pricing.
Long term, paying Living Income Pricing helps close the poverty gap for farmers, ensuring economic stability in the coffeelands.

First Ever Living Income Contract for Coffee

In 2021, Bellwether became the first company to sign a contract committing to Living Income Pricing. Bellwether partnered with Sustainable Harvest and Heifer International to establish Living Income Pricing for ASOPEP, a cooperative in Tolima, Colombia.  
The result of this pilot demonstrated the need to increase contract prices by 20%, compelling Bellwether to adjust contracts and pay the difference to meet the Living Income price. To date, Bellwether has purchased nearly 250,000 pounds of coffee from ASOPEP.

Data‑Backed Methodology

The industry does not currently set prices based on how much it costs to produce coffee or how much farmers need to earn. Living Income Pricing is rooted in real world livelihood benchmarks, not global market forces divorced from regional concerns.

Relationship Focused

For data to be accurate and transparently shared, we have to establish trusted, long term relationships. Partnering with farmers collaboratively to collect accurate data ensures mutual investment in accuracy and outcomes.

Origin‑Specific Pricing Models

Coffee pricing cannot be globally standardized and must be developed separately for individual regions. In order to build a model of coffee pricing that is both flexible and accurate, we must use regionally specific data, with culturally relevant means.

Two‑Way Transparency

Historically, modeling data has been extracted from coffee producers by outside groups and kept in the hands of the data collector. Farmers are left without insight into the results of their own data, or visibility into its use, creating resentment and mistrust between producers and collectors.  
Two‑way transparency between producers and Bellwether’s ensures accuracy in the Living Income Pricing data. Transparently sharing data back to producers shifts the power dynamic between buyers and sellers to align on pricing.

Dynamic Model to Match Real‑World Complexities

Collecting data one time does not represent the price that needs to be paid to producers indefinitely—the market is complex and fluctuating. The flexibility of living income pricing allows us to refresh current pricing more frequently to match real world conditions. Following the Living Income Community of Practice’s recommendation, this data will be refreshed every 3 years.
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