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Europe Leads International Support for Small Farmers and Artisans

Sep 23, 2009 05:41PM
Although fair trade is still modest in scope, given the factors of smart product design, business strategies and economies of scale, Europeans are proving that it can be a viable market, even in recessionary times. More than 70 percent of the British populace, for example, now recognizes the fair-trade mark, while just 28 percent of U.S. consumers do, according to a recent survey by the Fairtrade Foundation. More, one in four UK shoppers now regularly buy several fair trade products, while fewer than 6 percent of Americans could even name a fair-trade organization.

Fair trade is based on the principle of paying workers a fair price for sustainable products. Damien Sanfilippo, a cotton project manager with the international Pesticide Action Network, points out yet another benefit: “Fair trade can provide a stepping stone for [Third World] farmers to convert to organic, because it’s easier to become fair-trade certified,” he says. “Once they have access [to higher fair-trade prices], they can decide to use the premium to finance the training that they need to move towards more sustainable practices—all the way up to organic.”

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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