Fairtrade rejects ‘froth’ slurDecember 2010
The Fairtrade Foundation has countered allegations that its labelled products may not deliver as many benefits as claimed.
The Institute of Economic Affairs, a right-wing UK-based think tank, published a report, Fair trade without the froth, last month, maintaining that fair trade claims ‘have not been tested properly’, and suggesting that a market economy ‘may deliver the benefits that the fair trade model brings without the costs and bureaucracy’.
It also says the fair trade approach could be construed as paternalistic and that its requirements on farmers ‘may well reflect the subjective views of western consumers and not the real needs of poor producers’.
The foundation has hit back by saying the report is ‘flawed’ and deliberately ignores fair trade’s many successes. It rejects the paternalism charges, saying farmers ‘decide democratically how to invest the money’. And it points out that in Mali, for example, fair trade cotton farmers are earning 50 per cent more than conventional farmers.
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