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.

Continue reading “Can I afford to buy fairtrade produce?”