Can I afford to buy fairtrade produce?

These are tough times for all of us trying to balance our budgets. We all have to find ways of cutting corners so we can continue to feed our families. For some of us that means buying less food, for others that means buying cheaper food. But what is the real price of cheap food?

300px_african_farmersNo one over the past few weeks can fail to have realised that cheaper food sometimes means questionable quality and provenance. It appears clear that profit has been put before people (and animals):

  • The public wants cheaper produce;
  • The supermarkets want to attract customers by keeping prices lower;
  • The supermarkets therefore pay lower prices to their suppliers;
  • And right at the end of the chain, the farmer suffers.

Nowhere is this more evident in developing countries which either cannot afford to pay its farmers subsidies, or choose not to do so.

These are tough times for us; but even tougher times for millions of farmers and workers in developing countries – many of whom are older people. Despite producing approximately 70 per cent of the world’s food, over half of the world’s hungry people are smallholder farmers themselves, who struggle to earn a decent living from their crops. Unfair trade means they still only receive a tiny proportion of the price we pay for food.

Age International – and the Enough food for Everyone IF campaign, of which we are a part – believes that farmers can continue producing food for their families and their future IF they receive a guaranteed fair price for their crops. Choosing fairtrade products is one easy way to support them. Fairtrade offers farmers and workers the safety net of a fair price today and a little extra to invest in tomorrow.

Farmers can continue producing food for their families IF they receive a guaranteed fair price for their crops. IF they receive more, they can invest more and grow more, thus guaranteeing more food for people beyond their families and their communities.

Fairtrade Fortnight, 25 February – 10 March

Fairtrade Fornight (25 February until 10 March) is the perfect time to take steps to think about the food we eat and the people who grow it.

IF you buy products with the Fairtrade Mark, farmers and workers can earn enough to provide for their families and invest in their communities.

IF you already buy Fairtrade bananas or coffee, try something new this Fairtrade Fortnight – from tea, sugar and pineapples to ice cream, nuts and flowers (remember that Sunday 10 March is Mother’s Day!) This will help ensure more farmers and workers receive a better deal from trade.

IF we can get more people asking for Fairtrade, more companies will start to trade on fairer terms with developing countries.

IF you share your Fairtrade goodies with friends and family, we can spread the message even further.

Buying fairtrade produce does cost a little more money – but it also reduces poverty and suffering in some of the poorest countries in the world.

The question should not be ‘Can I afford to buy fairtrade produce?’ but ‘Can I afford not to?’

Read more about the Enough food for Everyone IF campaign

Find out more about Age International 

5 thoughts on “Can I afford to buy fairtrade produce?”

  1. sorry… much as i would love to do this, in Britain today, those with enough money to buy such expensive things are getting rarer and rarer. charity HAS to begin at home. but while i feel so sorry for these people in other countries, the atrocities being acted out here are as bad. what bit of money i do have spare, and believe me its not much and with spiraling costs of commodities like food, gas,electric etc.i have to consider my self and my own family first.and i dont eat a lot myself. neither do they.and they dont live with me. but we cant afford to eat that well. they say eat healthily…how? when it all costs so much?and i am not on my own/ money will only stretch so far. i was putting away all my spare change for a charity for the past 2 years up-to September last year. guess what.? i had to use it to help one of my kids.. now its swallowed up in my family. i still put odd coins in a jar, but its usually used to copper up for a taxi to get me to my docs or something. so that’s 3 people here out of 3 that cant buy fare trade.and i know of plenty of others.

  2. I think initiatives like Fair-trade should be encouraged, so that our farmers continue to remain in the business and prosper too. After all they are ones, because of whom we get food on our table, if they are still suffering in poverty then in long term, they move on to other profitable occupations.

  3. fair enough but if the money aint in peoples pockets to spend then its not there is it? larger majority in this country on low wages/benefits than up there in the rich to millionaire bracket or even middle class lifestyle ones who can afford such things,

  4. It’s fair enough if people can’t afford to pay a little extra for fair trade products but often people can afford it but choose not too. We’ve become so used to cheap imported goods that we often don’t stop to ask how or where they are produced. We should all look at something like the recent tragedy in Bangladesh and ask ourselves if we’re really happy with people in developing countries woring in unsafe conditions just so we can buy cheaper clothes etc.

    1. there are several things to consider here. 1 .if we DONT buy these cheap clothes etc would it mean less work for those workers in those countries? 2. can our consciences really go on, knowing that those workers lives are in danger every minute of every day they are working in those buildings? 3. what can we do to make their bosses pay a better wage and make working premises safer for their workers?
      i did a bit of soul searching before i signed the e-petition calling for better working conditions for those people.because at the end of the day, in this economic situation we have here, when belts are being tightened, weight being lost when not enough to eat etc, people have to replace their clothes with little money to do it on. so have to go for the cheapest they can buy. there are however other alternatives. charity shops. still cheaper than these imported clothes though much dearer now than they used to be.again due to the costs of everything. still need to buy somethings like undies that you dont want to be using after someone else lets face it. plus some people who dont fit into any of the normal sizing’s. too long arms or legs etc or bigger than normal bodies.they need to buy elsewhere. swings and roundabouts.

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