Monday, 6 July 2015

Why We Should Use Fairtrade

by David Danso-Amoako

Fairtrade is a foundation that helps farmers get a fair deal on their crops so they can improve their quality of life. The foundation provides help with health, education and financial wellbeing for the community in which they operate.  Below are some examples of the work they do with farmers all over the world to encourage you to support the wonderful work done by the Fairtrade Foundation. Founded in 2004 in Germany, Fairtrade’s main aim is to enable sustainable development and empowerment of disadvantaged producers by ensuring a fair price for their products.

Fairtrade benefits people in all sorts of ways. Programs not only benefit a farmer but his or her community as well. Without the work of Fairtrade, farmers in developing countries who are struggling with low prices for their products would lose their livelihood and sink deeper into poverty. In order for Fairtrade to work, the foundation partners itself with co-operatives made up of local farmers. 

After doing this, Fairtrade sets a minimum price at which the products of the co-operative must be sold. In addition, Fairtrade helps the community by setting up key facilities which the community require. These include building hospitals, schools and teaching farmers better technique to help them increase their yield, sustain economic development and improve the quality of life in their communities.

In Ghana, West Africa Kuapi Kokoo (English: good cocoa farmer) is a co-operative which aims to help cocoa farmers sell their cocoa beans at a fair price. With the help of Fairtrade, all of their cocoa beans are sold at the Fairtrade set minimum price or at the auction price if this is higher than the Fairtrade minimum price. This helps the cocoa farmers get the best price for all their hard work. The additional money farmers get helps them to pay the bills, afford better healthcare and to improve the education of their children. In addition, the additional income farmers will be able to increase their cocoa production and also afford farming equipment and technique. Fairtrade has also built pumps in Ghana so clean water is available for the community. Fairtrade is also building schools and employing teachers to work in Ghana.

In Colombia, Foncho is a Colombian farmer who is a member of the Coobafriao co-operative, which helps ensure a fairer price for its crop, the banana. This co-operative helps Foncho look after his family and send his 19 year-old daughter to university. Fairtrade certified Coobafriao in 2011 and has since raised the income of the farmers by 35%. This helps farmers like Foncho lead a good life in Colombia and avoids the chance of his family sinking into poverty. This means that instead of worrying about not having adequate finances, Foncho can focus on his family and farming bananas.

But these examples of good work and many others cannot go on unless we all pitch in.
In order to help Fairtrade, we must buy products with the Fairtrade label. By doing this we can ensure that the money goes towards some of the great causes Fairtrade supports. Based on sales in 2012-2013(see graph above), one of their most sold products was the banana. Sometimes, Fairtrade products may be more expensive, but the extra money spent on that product will be worth it.

If we help Fairtrade, we can aid the increase of organisations that join Fairtrade (shown on the graph above) and therefore we can make a difference to a lot more people in that way. The more we invest in Fairtrade, the brighter the future of the farmers who supply the items we so dearly need.     

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