Monday, 16 February 2015

When is Fairtrade Fortnight 2015?

When is Fairtrade Fortnight?

Fair trade Fortnight 2015 is 23rd February - 8th March. Why is Fairtrade important, and what do campaigners aim to change?

Fair Trade Fortnight 2015

Why is Fairtrade Important?

Many commodities (raw materials) are grown or farmed in LEDC's (Less Economically Developed Countries), yet the ones who profit are usually the trans-national corporatios of the MEDC's (More Economically Developed Countries). Doesn't really seem fair, does it? Especially when many producers are living in poverty, while the business owners are living in luxury in the developed world.

Often, the problem is related to a lack of initial resurces and facilities. For example, Ethiopian coffee farmers work long hours for little pay to grow and farm coffee beans. But they do not grid it due to a lack of grinding facilities. This is where the real money can be made, but it is made by the larger companies of the developed world who have the capital to resource their businesses.

An excellent series to watch on the reality of life for producers in LEDC's in Blood, Sweat and Luxuries. A group of British students visit developing counries including a coffee farm in Ethiopia and a Gold Mine in Ghana.

What do Fairtrade Campaigners want to change?

Fair trade is important because it is about giving a fair wage and reinvesting money into the communities of LEDC countries. This could be on education, heathcare and infrastrucutre.

In addition, it is about policy change to support LEDC's. MEDC governments subsidise farmers and local producers. Otherwise, their own farmers would be out jobs, because their prices would be undercut by the produce of LEDC's which is cheaper. Quite often, tarrifs make it more difficult and expensive for LEDC's to trade in MEDC's. It almost seems like the rich get richer and thee poor get poorer. SO policy change is also at the heart of fair trade campaigning.

The UK government do help traders to import from certain LEDC's. For example, when I imported from Rwanda through Kigali Crafts, goods were duty exempt.