Why do we need Fairtrade?
The small farmers and workers who grow our coffee, tea, cocoa, cotton and bananas often don't get the money they deserve for their crop.
They can suffer because of this and it can lock them into a cycle of poverty. When world commodity prices fall, as they have done over the last 30 years, It's these growers who feel the pinch first. Their income can drop to levels that don't even cover production costs, making it hard to provide for their families and maintain their farms.
As consumers we have the power to change things, and the power to make a difference to growers and workers in the southern hemisphere.
When you buy a product bearing the FAIRTRADE MARK, you can be sure that the farmers have received a fair price for their produce. Farmers in the Fairtrade scheme get a price that covers the cost of sustainable production, no matter how low the market goes. Fairtrade also requires long-term relationships with buyers, helping growers to plan for the future. In short, trade can be fair.
In addition producer organisations receive a Fairtrade Premium of, for example, ten cents per pound of coffee. The farmers themselves decide how this extra money is spent. It can be used to build everything from schools and health centres to social facilities, or to enable growers to improve productivity or reduce their reliance on a single commodity.