Do ever you think, while drinking a cup of wonderful aromatic coffee, about the fact that the man who picked it for you was paid 1.20 per kilo of beans?! Cafés use them to brew 80 cups, which earns them about 500 PLN. So, my question is: why do we forget about fair earnings for farmers who work their fingers to the bone?
Every day, you encounter situations in which you claim your rights, however you find it more difficult to meet your obligations. Seeking justice in trade, it becomes evident that, contrary to appearances, this topic is not simple. For, when buying any commodity, do you imagine a man who prepares it for sale? Do you give a thought to the conditions he works in and if he gets a fair salary? No! You just buy products mechanically depending on what you need. Probably you also find a healthy lifestyle and eco products significant. Perhaps it is just a new trend but maybe it is the omnipresent rush through life, stress and modified food which are responsible for your life, that make you think about what you eat, where this food comes from and how it was manufactured. We are sure that also you check the information on labels and it determines which product is purchased.
Exploitation of farmers from the South.
Having to face life challenges, you don’t dwell long on the mass media reports on inhumane conditions that people from poor countries of the South (Africa, Latin America and Asia) have to work in. But it does not mean at all that you do not want their life to be better. You may improve it at the same time having a feeling that your duty has been done well by choosing products with a Fair Trade certificate. It is obvious that the rich exploit the poor. It is no different in the case of trade. Unfair prices in the world markets, often below the costs of production, as well as a difficult access to the Northern countries markets, which are flooded with cheap food from the European Union or USA, dramatically reduce chances for fair earnings in poor countries of the South. The result of that situation is the poverty and hunger suffered by the inhabitants of Africa, Asia or Latin America, and exhausting working hours which do not ensure a fair standard of living. However, what is the saddest is that as there are is no other option, children are forced to work, and instead of playing games or studying they also work in hard conditions.
Trade not aid.
The beginnings of the movement were based on the activity of the Dutch and English missionaries who distributed in their parishes the products made by the inhabitants of develping countries. The emergence of the first slogan “Trade not Aid”, which encouraged development of trade relations with the poor countries of the South, quickly led to the creation of the first organisations and the World Shops which promoted product manufactured according to the Fair Trade standards. Fair Trade Organisation (FTO) is a leading organisation whose aim is to ensure fair livelihoods to farmers and workers from the South through fair trade relations with manufacturers, importers and distributors. Poland became involved in the development and promotion of Fair Trade at the beginning of 2009 by establishing a foundation named the Fair Trade Coalition. It cooperates with international structures of the movement which aimes at providing consumers with as much access as possible to the Fair Trade products and support to companies, organisations, institutions and individuals interested in the Fair Trade activities.
Better tomorrow for plantation workers...
Unfortunately, people’s awareness of Fair Trade remains low so more and more individuals and various organisations should get involved in ensuring fair livelihoods for farmers and workers from the South, by establishing and supporting fair trade conditions. We must keep a close eye on the actions of people who may cause the life of explited countries to become better, and their residents to look into the future with joy.
I`m happily married mother of two children. I`m always ensured a healthy lifestyle for my family. I enjoy being an active member of her community and works closely with local charities.