Date Posted: September 3rd, 2012
The principle of fair trade is exactly as the name implies – goods are traded at a price which is fair. But fair to whom? This week’s story examines fair trade in Ethiopia from the point of view of the farmer (seller) and the buyer. The fair trade principle has been formalized by various international bodies, and is now somewhat complex in practice. As more and more consumers are willing to pay a little extra for fairly traded goods, large corporations have joined the market, especially in commodities like coffee. This brings tension between large businesses that try to operate at a profit, yet want to satisfy customer demands for fair trade. It could be said they do not buy in to the principle, but buy fair trade only as a business decision. The regulations surrounding fair trade and certification may also exclude the poorest farmers, who produce very little or do not belong to co-operatives. These regulations can be divisive; some argue they are not sustainable.
Visit the websites of the two coffee co-operatives mentioned in the story: http://www.oromiacoffeeunion.org/
Refer to the website of the global “FairTrade” organization: http://www.fairtrade.net/
Here are two links describing direct trade in more detail, mentioned in the story as one alternative to fair trade:
And this is one company who trades directly with coffee farmers around the world. Read more about how they this works and the principles they follow: http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/content/direct-trade
FRW recently ran a story on fairly traded sugar: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/07/09/mauritius-sugar-farmers-turn-to-fair-trade-ips/
Read the Notes to broadcasters, with program suggestions, here: http://www.barzaradio.com/content/notes-broadcasters-fair-trade