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Fairtrade is a hope

14 janvier 2013

Third world goods imported to industrialised countries are often grown under dreadful working conditions. We demand that all goods sold internationally be fairly traded. This would improve living and working conditions in the poorest countries, as well as preventing abuse, starvation and mistreatment. 
Fair trade guarantees minimum wages and decent working conditions, allows people to live in a dignified manner and protects both human rights and the environment. This would allow producers and their families worldwide to earn a sustainable living from their work in their villages.

Today, a billion people suffer from hunger and three quarters are farmers living in poor countries. Their income is too low to feed their families and they face chronic or recurring malnutrition. In Africa, South America, India and Bangladesh, farmers and workers struggle to feed their families and develop diseases due to toxic pesticides: the cocoa used to make chocolate is often grown by child slaves (ILO). Extreme poverty leads to a wide range of mistreatment: women are physically abused in the work place, child labour is frequent and exhausting work days last more than fourteen hours. Unpaid sick leave further reduces their subsistence income and sick or hurt workers are left untreated. Farmers apply toxic pesticides without any protection, putting them at risk of deadly poisoning, whilst intensive farming damages both the soil and the environment. 

Fair trade can eliminate a significant proportion of poverty and malnutrition in the world. It guarantees at least minimum wages and working conditions, as well as stable employment contracts that allow producers to plan a long-term budget. Families can feed themselves, the rights of workers, women and children are respected and children can go to school. Producers are encouraged to grow organic produce and to develop sustainable agriculture. Fair-trade guarantees reduced or zero CO2 emissions. 

In 2011, more than a million small farmers benefited from the fair-trade system in 63 countries. More than a thousand cities became fair-trade towns and chose fair-trade for their purchases. A wide range of products are now fair-traded. Major brands are turning to fair-trade ingredients. Fair-trade produce is now on sale in most supermarkets and production can easily be increased. 

A fair-trade world is within our reach. Fair-trade products cost the same as other similar-quality products and price differences are mostly due to transport and distribution in small quantities. If all products from poor countries respect fair trade conditions, these extra costs will disappear. 

It is the perfect moment to develop fair trade worldwide. As actual increases in food prices, global warming and land grabbing in Africa threaten the living conditions of the poorest, we can put an end to millions of human tragedies, in a fair, easy and safe way for consumers.

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