What is “Fair Trade”?
Fair Trade is a positive and viable alternative trading model. Its primary goal is to build more equitable and sustainable relationships with small-scale co-operative producers in the South. It is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect that results in improved standards of living for producers and high-quality products for consumers.
It is about people either growing or making products getting a fair return for their labour. No child or slave labour. Decent working conditions. Sustainability in developing communities around the world. By choosing Fair Trade products while shopping, you can help break the cycle of poverty.
Fair Trade Cocoa: Breaking the Poverty Cycle
The low world market price for cocoa beans has traditionally meant that cocoa farmers are left in a cycle of poverty. Fair Trade, and other sustainable practices such as organic/ shade grown agriculture and co-operative development provide a means of breaking this cycle.
Here’s how the cycle works: Low market prices for cocoa beans… leads to a lack of resources for farmers… leads to cocoa farmers accumulating debt… leads to continued poor quality of cocoa… leads to country’s inability to remain competitive…
Cocoa farmers are then left in the following predicament:
They must secure loans to cover their families basic needs and medical emergencies;
High-interest loans are made by unscrupulous intermediaries based on anticipated income from upcoming harvest;
They try to pay back loans with harvest, but remain in debt due to high interest rate;
They are left with no cash flow and often resort to migrating to the cities in hopes of escaping vicious cycle.
Fair Trade breaks this cycle in many ways.