A small child dies from poverty every 2.4 seconds. This is preventable and therefore totally unacceptable. But what has this to do with world trade? It is another startling fact that developing countries in the South lose $100 billion per year due to an unfair trading system. That means for every $1 donated in aid, $2 is being stolen from poor countries through unfair trade rules set up by the rich countries to protect their own markets. The reality is that, in many ways, the rich North takes from the poor South, rather than gives to it.
While calling on developing countries to further open up their markets the US and the EU persist in ‘dumping’ their cheap, often subsidised products onto the world’s poorest nations. The US for example, subsidises its uneconomic cotton industry with an amount that exceeds the entire US African aid budget. This not only undermines the traditional export markets of countries like Ghana in West Africa but also means that subsidised American cotton is cheaper to buy in Ghana than the local product. To make matters worse, existing trade rules prevent the Ghanaian government from protecting their own cotton industry from these unfair imports. The result? The cotton farmers go out of business plunging them even deeper into poverty. Oxfam reports that 128 million people could be lifted out of poverty if Africa, Latin America, East Asia and South Asia each increased their share of world exports by just one percent.
Fairtrade is one alternative to this global injustice. Fairtrade means a better deal for farmers, growers and small-scale producers. By working in partnership with them, and reducing the number of middlemen, it ensures they receive a fair price, thereby enabling them to improve their business, or invest in health and education projects in their communities.
To read more about Fairtrade Mark click here
(Text provided by Garstang Fairtrade Town)