Fair trade is about better prices, local sustainability, good working conditions, and fair requirements of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fair trade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which discriminates against the poorest and weakest producers. It allows them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. Today, more than six million people, farmers, producers, workers and their families, around 77 countries benefit from the unique Fair trade system. Fair trade provides farmers and workers in developing countries with a fair price. There are both benefits and disadvantages of Fair trade. Some benefits are:
1. Stable prices.
For most products there is a minimum price that aims to cover the costs of sustainable production – even when world market prices fall. 2. A Fair trade Premium.
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The Premium helps producers to improve the quality of their lives. It is paid on top of the agreed Fair trade price, and producers decide legitimately how to use it. Typically they invest it in healthcare, education, farm improvements or processing facilities to increase income. 3. Partnership.
Producers are involved in decisions that affect their future. Fair trade certified producers jointly own and manage Fair trade International. 4. Empowerment of farmers and workers.
This is a goal of Fair trade. Small farmer groups must have a democratic structure and transparent administration in order to be certified. Workers must be allowed to have representatives on a committee that decides on the use of the Fair trade Premium. Both groups are supported by Fair trade International to develop their capacity in this area.
Some disadvantages are:
1. The consumer pays more which may not go to the grower/supplier. 2. Products may not reach mainstream market thus staying in specialty stores.
Some examples of chocolate that are fair trade sold in Australia are: Cadbury chocolate.
Green & Black’s.
Heart of Chocolate.
Lindsay & Edmund’s.
By choosing Fair trade Certified chocolate this Easter, consumers can help improve the living standards of cocoa farmers and create better futures for their families and communities.