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Faitrade News

The Press Association: Queen's decision to sell Fairtrade food on royal Sandringham estate welcomed

Palestinians to Sell First Fair Trade Product
The glimmers of an economic revival for Palestinians will grow early next year with the launch of their first fair trade product. Fair trade olive oil will hit the shops in 2009

With the help of dedicated volunteers from around Pembrokeshire, Wales has become the world’s first Fairtrade nation.

Parminder Bahra has written a couple of Fairtrade articles in the Times this morning, which seem to have been and gone from The Times website, maybe just a technical hitch (I'll check later) or it maybe because he rips into the charity for living of its margin and fees and that some workers have yet to see any benefit...


Tea workers still waiting to reap Fairtrade benefits - Times Online

Supermarkets seeking to promote their ethical buying policies proclaim that their produce is Fairtrade, and customers buy such goods in the belief that they are doing their bit for workers in the developing world.

However, an investigation by The Times suggests that workers on plantations that supply Fairtrade tea are not seeing their lives improve as they should. ...

Some workers suspect that the scheme is being used to make estates appear socially responsible as demand increases in the West for Fairtrade-labelled goods. ...Fairtrade estates can also supplement their output by buying from noncertified plantations, although they cannot then sell such produce as Fairtrade. For example, Eastern Produce Kenya, a Fairtrade-certified trader, regularly buys noncertified tea from the Kaprachoge estate, where conditions are far from those stipulated for certification.

Fairtrade inspections are announced in advance. “The estate owners can tell the workers not to be critical. It is a harsh system – [the workers] are deeply afraid of the owners because they can lose their job.”

The Fairtrade Foundation ...was unhappy with inspections being conducted by independent organisations and it tried to influence the outcomes of these inspections, Paola Ghillani, ..a former board member said.

“The Fairtrade Foundation at that time, and maybe now, has got too much at stake. They were living from funding, but also from licence fees [they received] each time they gave the label to a licensee. The inspection and certification system is not independent enough.”

You may remember that the The ASI revealed "a number of inconvenient truths about Fairtrade" sometime ago.

Comments

I live in the country that produces the finest coffee in the world (Costa Rica) and the network of operatives that farms the pinnacle of artisanal coffee (namely Britt) is explicitly denied access to the Fair Trade network because they do not conform to the Soviet-style collectivised agriculture of the Fair Trade plantations. You can drink Fair Trade coffee and attain a triple-whammy of idiocy: 1) drink inferior coffee 2) pay more for it 3) impoverish its growers. Free trade coffee is incomparably better than the 'fair trade' variety. Cheaper, too. I pay about $4 a lb for Britt Tarrazu Montecielo (which is a steal.) Unless you have had it you are utterly unequipped to have an opinion about coffee. It's 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild coffee.

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