What Is Fair Trade, and Why Should It Matter?

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  • Topic: Fair trade, Organic certification, Organic food
  • Pages : 2 (587 words )
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  • Published : March 5, 2008
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WHAT IS FAIR TRADE, AND WHY SHOULD IT MATTER?

You've probably heard about Fair Trade, maybe even seen signs in supermarkets advertising some of their produce as Fair Trade grown. Well, everybody likes to think things are "fair," but just what is a Fair Trade grown product like coffee beans or tea? The Fair Trade movement is based on a set of six principles including: ∑Fair price: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit. ∑Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms benefit from freedom of association, safe working conditions, and a living wage. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited. ∑Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to compete in the global marketplace. ∑Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues. ∑Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement training, and organic certification. ∑Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited, instead environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers' health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations are rigorously used. Fair Trade gives small farmers in third-world countries a real chance to break the cycle of poverty and debt that has plagued them for generations. One of the principles of Fair Trade excludes the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides in farming – whether it is bananas, coffee, string beans, or any number of the myriad agricultural products grown for export....
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