The problem: "free trade"
- The US is the world's largest consumer of coffee and cocoa/chocolate. Coffee is the world's most heavily traded commodity -- after oil.
- A crash in the world coffee market has led to poverty, farm loss, malnutrition, and even drug plant cultivation.
- Over 248,000 children on West African cocoa farms work in hazardous tasks. Some Ivory Coast farmers have been using child slaves.
- Follow the money...
M&M/Mars owners' net worth: $10 billion each.
African cocoa farmer's income: $30 - $108 per year.
Starbucks CEO's annual salary: $2.5 million.
Small-scale coffee farmer's revenue: $300 per year.
- Industrial farming is causing pesticide pollution, deforestation, and songbird extinction.
- World Bank and IMF policies leave farmers at the mercy of the world market and corporations.
|The solution: Fair Trade!
- Guarantees a minimum price regardless of the volatile market -- a living wage.
- Prohibits forced and exploitative child labor.
- Farmers are organized in cooperatives.
- Encourages direct direct long-term buying relationships.
- Provides credit at low rates.
- Promotes sustainable farming -- 85% of Fair Trade cocoa and coffee are organic and shade grown.
- Who benefits from Fair Trade?
Cocoa: 42,000 farmers in 8 countries.
Coffee: 5550,000 farmers in 22 countries.
- Due to lack of demand, Fair Trade cooperatives sell on average 10-20% of their crop at Fair Trade prices -- the rest must be sold for less, often below the cost of production, exacting a terrible toll on the underdeveloped world's farmers. Now is the time to take action for Fair Trade!
"With world market prices as low as they are right now, we see that a lot of farmers cannot maintain their families and their land anymore. We need Fair Trade now more than ever."|
-- Jeronimo Bollen, Manos Campesinas Cooperative, Guatemala