Sunday, 13 February 2011

Reasons to buy Fairtrade

Part two of an occasional series, taken from the pages of the book by Miles Litvinoff and John Madeley.
Pay Small-Scale Farmers a Fairer Price - Fairtrade raises incomes of small scale farmers and boosts local economies. The fairtrade farm-gate price is the key to a better life for hundreds of thousands of families.

This is also an issue closer to home - here in mid-Wales local farmers and the big supermarkets have an unequal relationship, with the power in the hands of the supermarkets.
On the world stage, the world banana trade is dominated by five transnational companies - Dole, Del Monte, Chiquita, Fyffes and Noboa. They grow bananas on huge plantations, with low wages and often dangerous working conditions, with a high level of pesticide use (and lack of safety clothing, for example, for the sprayers). The small, family-run farms on the Caribbean can't compete with the low prices of the transnationals - unless they turn to Fairtrade, where they get a guarenteed minimum price for their crops.
Supporting small producers helps women disproportionately, as they are often the majority of the smallest farmers, and helps communities to send their children to school and to afford medical care without worrying about crippling debt.