Breaking the Poverty Cycle through Fair Trade
Since the beginning of the Fair Trade Movement in the 1940s, there have been continued debates over the effectiveness of Fair Trade. Numerous studies have been conducted. Some of the most recent studies found that Fair Trade made the following positive impacts:
- more capacity building allowing small-scale producers to increase efficiency and expand market;
- more children having access to schools as a result of less financial pressure and more schools built in rural communities through Fair Trade premium;
- more stable income enabling families to invest in crops and family business; and
- more collaboration between small-scale producers that build relationships and foster idea exchange.
All the above help a family to break the poverty cycle.
There have been criticisms around Fair Trade. The main points being whether producers get their equitable share of the Fair Trade premium, whether studies of the effectiveness of fair trade are based on large enough samples, whether producer cooperatives are operated efficiently, and whether retailers adhere to Fair Trade Principles. Most of the issues are more or less addressed by certification system for Fair Trade food, textile and handicraft producer groups. Like any other system, there are imperfections. But we believe that the Fair Trade Movement has given tangible help to the world's most disadvantaged people. Have Fair Trade is better than no Fair Trade. As for the imperfections, we can all help to make it better.