Fair Trade Trickle Down Economics?


Despite fair trade’s healthy and honorable intentions, and its increasing success, the brutal fact remains that the Fair Trademovement could raise its overall market share by 1000% and still have a negligible effect on helping poor farmers and people climb out of poverty. unfortunately the fair trade market helps the rich bet richer and the poor farmer gets the smallest slice of the pie if any pie at all.

Unfortunately concept and reality is not the same thing in terms of Fair Trade. So if you want to make a purchase that really helps someone that is a socially good thing to do buy one of the charity supported coffees that support orphans or homeless children. Unfortunately the logo is often just sold without any proof the end farmers are getting the extra money. Worse Fair Trade does not dictate any sort of income level for the farmers it supports – so rich farmers can benefit as much as the poor farmer. Think about this – which do you think has access or communications to find out about fair Trade – the poor farmer with no electricity or the rich farmer with TV, cell phone, computer, internet and telephone – so huge land barons and large companies can own the coffee farm and get Fair Trade certified? So in most cases you are only helping the rich get richer. Ever look at a map showing the location of where the address is of the F. T. Company. Does it surprise you that 90% of the companies certified are in the US?

Here is another thought. Most third world countries the people are extremely poor. The richest people in third world country own land. The richest of these rich own land that produces income i.e. a producing farm or mineral producing tract of land or quarry. So in that third world country by far the richest people are the ones who own a farm. True they may not be rich by our standards but they are richer by far than 95% of their fellow countrymen. So if you just focus on the 5% of certified farmers who are located in a third world in reality you are also helping the richest people in that country – the people who need the help the least.

Lastly and most disturbing is the company that markets Fair Trade. TransFair describes its logo fees as amounting to just pennies on the pound. Those pennies add up. Last year, it generated $1.89 million in licensing fees from companies that used the logo. It also spent $1.7 million on salaries, travel, conferences and publications for the 40-employee organization. And they DID NOT donate one penny to poor farmers – the guys they are marketing to help. Now is that really Fair? Fair Trade – yea right!

So now why would you buy FT gourmet coffee? It’s certainly not because its helping the poor desolate farmer you are picturing. Did you say you bought Fair Trade because the quality was better? Unfortunately just because the Fair Trade coffee costs more there is no guarantee or even standard that the quality is better. In fact the opposite is true – most F. T coffees are a worse quality. There are hundreds of coffee companies who could not sale their coffee because it was a poor quality. But that coffee company then got it certified Fair Trade and wow did the sales go up. But again nothing was done to improve its quality – all they need to do is show they are paying a higher price for the coffee – they don’t have to prove who they are paying or how the money is distributed. So please check out that Fair Trade coffee before you buy them. The logo means nothing – they are easily bought. Look at their web site for PROJECTS and PROGRAMS they have implemented. Don’t just go by the standard “Fair Trade Marketing Ploy” that says Fair Trade helps poor farmers – find their actual farmers they are helping – check to see what farmers they are really helping. If not you know it’s just a “bought logo”. Then find you a social conscious coffee or charity coffee and feel good that you are really helping people.So be careful with your holiday purchase – please be sure your gourmet coffee is more than a pretty wraping.

Now isn’t that a staisfying cup of coffee?


Source by Boake Moore