Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Fair trade improving farmers’ lives

with one comment

From the NY Times:

Fair trade
VARGINHA, Brazil — Rafael de Paiva was skeptical at first. If he wanted a “fair trade” certification for his coffee crop, the Brazilian farmer would have to adhere to a long list of rules on pesticides, farming techniques, recycling and other matters. He even had to show that his children were enrolled in school.

“I thought, ‘This is difficult,’” recalled the humble farmer. But the 20 percent premium he recently received for his first fair trade harvest made the effort worthwhile, Mr. Paiva said, adding, it “helped us create a decent living.”

More farmers are likely to receive such offers, as importers and retailers rush to meet a growing demand from consumers and activists to adhere to stricter environmental and social standards.

Mr. Paiva’s beans will be in the store-brand coffee sold by Sam’s Club, the warehouse chain of Wal-Mart Stores. Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s and Starbucks already sell some fair trade coffee.

“We see a real momentum now with big companies and institutions switching to fair trade,” said Paul Rice, president and chief executive of TransFair USA, the only independent fair trade certifier in the United States.

The International Fair Trade Association, an umbrella group of organizations in more than 70 countries, defines fair trade as reflecting “concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalized small producers” and does “not maximize profit at their expense.”

According to Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, a group of fair trade certifiers, consumers spent approximately $2.2 billion on certified products in 2006, a 42 percent increase over the previous year, benefiting over seven million people in developing countries.

Like consumer awareness of organic products a decade ago, fair trade awareness is growing. In 2006, 27 percent of Americans said they were aware of the certification, up from 12 percent in 2004, according to a study by the New-York based National Coffee Association.

Fair trade products that have experienced the biggest jump in demand include coffee, cocoa and cotton, according to the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations.

Dozens of other products, including tea, pineapples, wine and flowers, are certified by organizations that visit farmers to verify that they are meeting the many criteria that bar, among other things, the use of child labor and harmful chemicals.

There is no governmental standard for fair trade certification, the same situation as with “organic” until a few years ago. Some fair trade produce also carries the organic label, but most does not. One important difference is the focus of the labels: organic refers to how food is cultivated, while fair trade is primarily concerned with the condition of the farmer and his laborers.

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

2 October 2007 at 2:04 pm

Posted in Business, Caffeine

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Check out Buywell.org about organic, fair trade coffee. Great coffee, great company with a great story on two college kids that had a dream

    Like

    Larry

    26 November 2007 at 7:23 pm


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