A weak evaluation of fair trade but a few useful lessons…

A hatchet job, but… This neoliberal ‘evaluation’ of fair trade production in East Africa identifies problems with child labour and other forms of hierarchical abuse within cooperatives and poor communities. As well as the tendency of NGO and social business intermediaries and managers to capture a larger share of the surplus than they deserve. Only the gradual self-confidence and organisation of the small farmers concerned can change these things.

The hatchet job that SOAS academics have performed for DFiD consists in the dishonest comparison between higher wages of skilled workers on big modern farms and lower wages in small-scale and family fair trade operations with marginalised communities on the worse land in poor districts. In any case, the fair trade premium that coffee fairtraders pay small producers is low and likely to stay low because global prices are high anyway. When the price crashes, and commodity prices always crash, the fair trade farmers will get more protection than labourers on big commercial farms…

Fairtrade accused of failing to deliver benefits to African farmworkers
Study claims wages on officially certified markets are below what is paid by comparable employers



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