why should we buy fair trade products
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Why Consumers Should Buy Fair Trade Products

Coffee, which is mostly consumed by developed nations, has a booming industry in developing countries. In these countries, there is a high rate of exploitation of workers where their wages are far less than 10% of the retail price. As a result, affected families who live below the poverty line, forcing them to practice child labour to earn more. They are subjected to a low standard of living without access to basic amenities, and the children pulled out of school are made to continue a cycle of poverty. There are also cases where the workers are taken as slaves because of the inability to pay back debts (04).

With fair trade, there is support and help for these workers to be properly compensated. Companies buy coffee from farmers and workers in developing countries at sustainable prices (01). This does not apply to the coffee industry alone but also to the tea, cocoa, cotton, and many other industries.

Companies involved in fair trade buy at the market price, in effect, it helps to improve the standard of living of these farmers and workers. As a consumer, buying products with a fair trademark is advantageous to both you and the farmers. You should buy fair trade products because fair trade:

1.  Protects The Rights of Workers and Protects Children

Without the fair trade Standard for Hired Labour, workers on both farms and factories are usually subjected to inadequate working conditions. Their wages are below the minimum wage, and they cannot afford the basic amenities of life like healthcare and education. Hence, employers under this agreement are required to obey these standards, which improve the life of the workers.

2. Gives Neglected Farmers A Trading Platform

Farmers that would have otherwise had to sell their produce at unreasonable prices or watch them go to waste are supported by fair trade. After a season of toiling on the farm and in factories, these workers can sell their produce at fair market prices, which undeniably gives them a sense of dignity and makes them less susceptible to poverty.

3. Provides Products with Better Taste

Fair trade buys from farmers who grow without genetically engineered ingredients (03). Therefore, every step of the growing process is painstakingly done, and there are always noticeable differences in taste. It is also important to note that as a result of following due processes, fair trade products are healthier compared to their counterparts.

4.  Supports Developing Countries 

There are funds generated from the fair trade license fee. These funds are given back to society. Although communities decide what the funds will be used for, they are designated for development projects like better health facilities and clean drinking water (03).

Asides from fair trade, direct trade is another trading option available to farmers in developing countries, especially those in the coffee, tea, and cocoa industries. It involves companies relating directly to farmers and producers. While there are no set standards for this trading practice, the goal here is to ensure quality products that directly affect the premium paid by these companies. This has been shown to improve the quality of life of the farmers involved (05).          

Check the following reference articles to learn more about why consumers should buy fair trade products:
  1. Fair Trade Foundation. What is Fair Trade? URL
  2. Palms Australia. 5 Reasons to Buy Fairtrade URL
  3. Eco Watch. 5 reasons you should buy fair trade. URL
  4. Food Empowerment Project. Bitter Brew: The Stirring Reality of Coffee. URL
  5. Wikipedia. Direct Trade. URL