The last lecture of this season took place on Wednesday, 6th April when the speaker was Joe Human and the subject “Fairtrade”.
Joe used the example of Choche, a coffee producing town in Ethiopia, to explain how the practice of Fairtrade helps communities stand on their own feet without the need for charity. A little known fact is that coffee is traded in London and New York as a commodity and this creates a volatile and speculative futures market with no benefit to the producers. Over a period of 12 years the price given to the producer dropped by 40% yet the price consumers paid rose by 270%. Hardly fair for either party.
Fairtrade gives farmers and workers in developing countries a better deal with a fair and stable price, decent working conditions and an additional ‘premium’ to be invested in their businesses and communities. The premium can be used to improve water supplies and roads and to build clinics and schools. Farmers must agree to strict rules such as democracy and inclusion of women and they must maintain quality. Joe ended with a plea to think about what we buy in future and to consider choosing a Fairtrade alternative to our usual purchase.