A small child dies from poverty every 2.4 seconds. This
is preventable and therefore totally unacceptable. But what
has this to do with Trade? It is another startling fact
that Developing Countries in the South lose $100 billion
per year due to an unfair trading system. That means for
every $1 donated in aid, $2 is being stolen from poor countries
through unfair trade rules set up by the rich countries
to protect their own markets. The reality is that, in many
ways, the rich North takes from the poor South, rather than
gives to it.
In an Oxfam report "Rigged Rules and Double Standards"
the European Union wins Oxfam's Double Standards Award for
the greatest hypocrisy in trade rules. The report shows
that 128 million people could be lifted out of poverty if
Africa, Latin America, East Asia and South Asia each increased
their share of world exports by just one percent. In April
2002 Oxfam launched a global campaign to 'Make Trade Fair'.
Oxfam is calling for a radical shake up of global trade
rules and an end to rich world double standards. People
can join the campaign at a dedicated website: www.maketradefair.com.
Fair Trade is one alternative to this global injustice.
Fair Trade means a better deal for farmers, growers and
small-scale producers. By working in partnership with them,
and reducing the number of middlemen, it ensures they receive
a fair price, thereby enabling them to improve their business,
or invest in health and education projects in their communities.
The average UK citizen will spend a massive £90,000
in supermarkets during their lifetime. As a consumer buying
Fair Trade goods one can help reduce world poverty. In 1994
the Fairtrade Foundation launched the Fairtrade Mark, shown
upper left. The Fairtrade Mark, appearing on products like
tea, coffee, chocolate, bananas, fruit juice, honey and
cocoa is a guarantee that the product has been fairly traded.
In September 2002 the new Fairtrade Mark, shown upper right,
was launched so that the UK Mark could join with the International
Fairtrade Labelling movement in the formation of a single
certification Mark used across the globe.
Oxfam Group (GOG) have campaigned on fair trade since
its formation in 1992. The campaign to make Garstang a Fairtrade
Town developed during Fairtrade Fortnight in the year 2000.
At that time there were five traders in Garstang selling
Fairtrade goods including the Mustard
Seed, the first Fair Trade shop and coffee bar in Garstang.
There are now sixteen Garstang
Traders selling Fairtrade products and many more using
Fairtrade goods on their premises.
Making Garstang a Fairtrade Town not only increased awareness
of the Fairtrade
Mark to over 70% (the national average being just 20%)
but also led to the formation of many links between Garstang
and Ghana. These links culminated in a twin town relationship
between Garstang and the cocoa farming community of New
Koforidua in Ghana. The Garstang Oxfam Group also worked
with the local Youth Club and Garstang High School on the
Go Global Fair Trade
/ Slave Trade project. Central to the project was a
visit to Ghana by a group of young people in the Summer
of 2001. The fair trade campaign has also brought together
the problems faced by farmers
in Ghana with those faced by local farmers also struggling
to get a fair price for their produce.
The Oxfam Group believe that bringing people together in
this way can help us to understand and share in each others
problems. As the coffee producer Guillermo said, while visiting
the UK during Fairtrade Fortnight 2002 'if we can look one
another in the eyes we can understand each others' needs'.