For the first time in many months, I read the papers yesterday and came across a great article by Sarah Morrison in the Independent entitled ‘Fairtrade – Is it really fair?’
Having worked with smallholder farmers for many years before launching ‘Trumpers Tea’ I was able to make a conscious decision to create a Fairtrade company having witnessed for myself the difference that this particular certification can make to many disadvantaged producers around the world. However, I often get challenged as to the merits of the scheme and asked to demonstrate how it works by those that have not been fortunate enough to witness developments for themselves.
The full article is worth a read using the following link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/fairtrade-is-it-really-fair-7717624.html An extremely balanced debate is put forward by Harriet Lamb, from the Fairtrade Foundation who argues ‘Yes – It puts people back at the heart of trade’ and Philip Booth from the Institute of Economic Affairs, who countries with ‘No, Other schemes are just as valuable’.
In the end, as a consumer, I often find it difficult to way up the merits of the different certification schemes that we see all over the labels of many food and household goods and often it comes down to who can market the product the best. However, Trumpers Tea will continue to support Fairtrade because of what I’ve witnessed and learnt from working alongside farmers but we will not be slow to challenge the system if we feel that it is letting either the producer or our consumers down.
For now, I am happy to say that I continue to buy directly from producers that I know and have a relationship with. This allows me to be confident that every pound that we put in as a company and you pay as a consumer, is channelled in the right direction to support the development of many small holder farmers in both Asia and Africa, who without the system, would be struggling to survive.