Coffee farmers in Africa, Asia and South America are facing ruin from falling, unfair and unrealistic prices, according to charity Oxfam Hong Kong. The price of coffee beans has almost halved in the past three years to a 30-year low, with farmers bearing the brunt of the drop. Less than 10 per cent of the price of a retail cup of coffee goes to the growers, compared with 30 per cent a decade ago, according to Oxfam. And the group says farmers receive less than two per cent of the retail price of instant coffee. Four large coffee roasters, Kraft, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Sara Lee, shape the market for raw coffee beans and enjoy high profit margins. In an effort to redress the balance and pressure major coffee roasters to pay more, Oxfam recently launched Fair Trade Coffee in Hong Kong. Fair Trade Coffee buys organic coffee from a Tanzanian farmers' co-operative at three times the current market rate and sells it at $15 for 10 sachets of instant coffee, or $40 for 250 grams of freshly ground coffee. Three quarters of the co-operative's profits go to farmers, while the other quarter supports the community. Executives of coffee chains Pacific Coffee and Starbucks said they bought quality coffee beans at sustainable prices, although the beans were not certified by fair trade organisations. Starbucks said it planned to sell packets of coffee beans and brewed coffee certified as being 'fair trade' next year, although the beans would not be used in espresso because the variety was unsuitable.