A recent government study has found that sales of Fairtrade-certified products from Uganda and Ethiopia are not benefiting poor farmworkers as profits fail to trickle down to much of the workforce, says a groundbreaking study.
The Fairtrade Foundation is committed to "better prices, decent
working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for
farmers and workers in the developing world". But a UK
government-sponsored study, which investigated the production of
flowers, coffee and tea in Ethiopia and Uganda, found that "where
Fairtrade flowers were grown, and where there were farmers' groups
selling coffee and tea into Fairtrade certified markets, wages were very
Christopher Cramer, an economics professor at the
University of London and one of the report's authors, said: "Wages in
other comparable areas and among comparable employers producing the same
crops but where there was no Fairtrade certification were usually
higher and working conditions better. In our research sites, Fairtrade
has not been an effective mechanism for improving the lives of wage
workers, the poorest rural people."
Researchers who collected
detailed information on more than 1,500 people said they also found
evidence of the widespread use of children being paid to work on farms
growing produce for Britain's leading ethical label.
started in Britain 25 years ago by development and consumer groups
including Oxfam and the Women's Institute, has grown into one of the
world's most trusted ethical schemes, with 1.24 million farmers and
workers around the world. Fairtrade products contribute to the funding
of schools, health clinics, sanitation and other "social projects" in
rural areas. To join the scheme, farmers must agree to meet social,
labour and environmental standards. In Britain it is a £1.78bn
enterprise backed by government, Comic Relief, churches and
So the question is what should we as consumers do ? Do we buy bother to buy Fairtrade or do we go with the alternatives?
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