Posts tagged fair trade

Supporting Fair Trade Coffee through Micro Finance

By Erica

I have previously written posts on both fair trade and micro finance, and the pros and cons that go hand-in-hand with both.  Fair trade is often a topic riddled with controversy surrounding what is actually fair trade and is it actually supporting who it needs to support.  Often farmers who are actually fair trade may struggle with start up costs or wind up paying hefty fees to support a fair trade or organic status.  This often winds up in a familiar scenario of the big guys once again winning out due to their more substantial finances.  However, a new consumer finance model called Grow Ahead is looking to solve this problem and support small scale coffee farmers through consumer lending.  Farmers need money to plant/grow their crop, but if they don’t have left over money from last year, and they have not yet turned any profit this year, they struggle to make that initial investment into this years crop.  This is where Grow Ahead comes in.  In a nut shell, they ask you, the consumer, to loan money to the farmer.  So just say you loan $25 dollars to a farmer through Grow Ahead.. your loan, along with the loans of others, lets this farmer plant his crop.. once the crop has been harvested, and the farmer has sold his crop, you get your loan back.. pretty cool!!  Click here to check out their site!

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Fair Trade Follow-Up: Not as good as we thought?

By Erica

Earlier this May, the Financial Post posted an article suggesting that fair trade coffee was actually causing more poverty, rather than hindering it.  Writer Lawrence Solomon stated that, in order to be certified “fair trade”, farmers have to pay a high fee, that most can not afford (despite the fact that since they also can’t afford fertilizers and pesticides, they actually do qualify as fair trade and organic).  Those who are able to afford the fee than take business from the poorest farmers, making them even more poverty stricken.  Solution? Get rid of the certification fee. What a ridiculous notion.. fair trade was created in part to help these farmers earn money, so why make them pay money?? Counter-productive anyone?

To learn more, take a gander at Solomon’s article 

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A Brief Note on Fair Trade

Next time you are at the supermarket, and looking to buy coffee or chocolate products, be a nice human and buy fair trade (look for a Fair Trade certified logo on the packaging).  By doing this, you are ensuring that workers in countries less fortunate than ours are getting fair wages and fair treatment by big evil corporations.  If something is fair trade certified, you know that:

-The workers got fair wages

-no child labor was involved

-the farming was done sustainably

-some of the money goes into community development

When you buy regular coffee only about $0.04 of a dollar goes back to the farmers.  Let’s all make the move to support fair trade, and make life more sustainable for others.

A few fair trade certified options: Kicking Horse coffee, Camino, Numi Teasphotocred Adina Grey

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