Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fairtrade Fortnight 2013

Fairtrade Fortnight is happening now from 25th February - 10th March. It guarantees a decent price to producers who usually get a raw deal under 'free' trade.


Essentially, you can choose to buy your tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate, bananas, cotton, footballs and many other products at prices largely set and under conditions mainly controlled by giant multi-national corporations, so that the people who farm and produce these products get very little. Sometimes, not even covering the cost to grow or process them. Or you can choose to buy products independently certified as Fairtrade which guarantees a minimum decent price to the producers plus a premium which is invested in social, environmental and economic development projects decided upon by producer groups. Do a lot less harm, do a lot more good, and much deliciousness into the (fair) bargain.

As Fairtrade Ireland puts it:

"Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives."

Fairtrade products used only to be available in a few concerned outlets, like Oxfam, which promoted it for years. Now you can get Fairtrade products from supermarkets, cafes (many of which serve only Fairtrade tea and coffee), wholesalers and hundreds of shops. Apparently sales of Fairtrade products in Ireland reached €174 million last year. Irish Rail have just committed to selling only Fairtrade coffee on all its trains. There are Fairtrade Towns in Ireland, like Clonakilty. And there's a video with a half-naked comedian (who isn't Brad Pitt) eating a Fairtrade banana. So look out for the Fairtrade mark. It's all good.


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