~Image Source: Prezi~
What is Fair Trade?
In simple terms, Fair Trade is trade in which fair payment is made to the producers of the goods. Consumers pay a little extra bit to get a product that they know has been ethically produced. However, the concept of fair trade is a more complex issue which raises many questions. These include:
- Who gets fair trade?
- Who decides what is fair payment?
- Why is fair trade needed?
- Shouldn't all trade be fair?
- Is fair trade good for anyone?
- How do I know something is genuinely fair trade?
Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity (fairness) in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the south. Fair-trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, in awareness raising, and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.What are fair trade products? Fair trade supports producers in developing countries. Fair-trade products are often raw materials such as coffee, cocoas and bananas, or products made from these raw materials, grown in the developing countries. Why fair trade? The farmers and producers involved with the fair-trade system come from some of the poorest countries in the world. For them, debt can be a big problem. Fair trade can help them by offering a fair, stable price which will cover the cost of producing the goods. Fair trade can also help by improving access to no- or low-interest loans. This can make a big difference to a poor farmer. Other fair trade can help improve lives includes:
- No enforced child labour
- Safe, decent working conditions
- Fair prices - farm groups receive a guaranteed minimum price and an additional premium for certified organic products
- Helping people gain skills and knowledge to develop their businesses
- More protection from the price decreases of the international commodity (raw material) market
- Conservation of natural resources
In Burkina Faso, the Union of Women Producers of Shea Products of Sissili and Ziro is using premium funds to extend the literacy program and to continue long-term funding of a children's day care and playground project. Most of the women involved in shea butter production are illiterate, so being able to continue with the literacy program will benefit many. The day care center will help give women the time to work.
Fair trade also provides opportunities for women to take a leadership role in the cooperatives. The premiums can be used to give women income in other ways. For example, women can gain an additional income using sewing machines bought using fair-trade premiums.