What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is becoming more and more important in the world we are living in today. We are facing so many problems in the world; Fairtrade is one of the solutions to many global problems. It helps developing countries grow their economies and it is environmentally friendly. There is so much inequality within trade today, rich countries and multinational companies dominate the world markets, placing the environmental and economic burden on producing. countries in the Global South. So, we need to do something!
Developing countries grow and produce many different things that are sold to first world countries that eventually end up on our supermarket shelves. A prime example of this is coffee and chocolate. You might see this as a good thing for these developing countries’ economies, but unfortunately it is not. Rich countries that buy from developing countries have unfair terms of trade. Something that needs to be changed and should never be this way. Big corporations, like Nestle, take advantage of this supply chain and leave farmers and workers, many of whom are children, at an incredible disadvantage.
The term of trade is the way prices are set. Farmers are forced to accept low prices for their crops as they have no other choice leaving them with very little of the profits. According to Fairtrade, on average, cocoa farmers earn just 6% of the final value of a bar of chocolate. When crops, such as coffee beans and cocoa, are exported to developed countries they are processed, packaged, and sold. More than 80 percent of the profits belong to the countries that sell the final product.
Fairtrade prevents this from happening and provides disadvantaged farmers and workers better prices for their crops, an opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future. Farmers receive a stable price even when the market drops. Workers are guaranteed a good wage and safe working conditions. Fairtrade groups also encourage sustainable agriculture and other practices that benefit the producers in the long term.
How can we participate?
We can participate in many simple ways that are of benefit to us and the farmers who grow the crops. Fairtrade offers consumers to buy ethically. When you buy Fairtrade products, you are purchasing products that have been produced without slave labour or in sweatshops. It gives the consumer the knowledge of how their product was produced safely and fairly. Consumers buying Fairtrade products also benefits the farmers and workers immensely. It means they will have a stable income.
Our actions can do a lot. We all have a voice. Purchasing fair trade items regularly will eventually force big companies to do the same and participate in the Fairtrade program. More ways you can participate is to spread awareness among your friends. We all have social media, so try reposting and sharing awareness posts on Fairtrade. Challenge yourself the next time you go to get your groceries try to include and find Fairtrade products!
If you want to do more research have a look at the Fairtrade website: https://www.fairtrade.ie/fairtrade-products/