All entries for Wednesday 13 October 2004

October 13, 2004

Fair Trade, a case study: Edgar

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In my first entry to this media diary, I looked at the consumption side of Fair Trade, specifically in our own Union; this week, I'm going to focus on the production side, specifically a case study of a coffee-grower from Costa Rica called Edgar. Edgar, though uneducated himself has, thanks to Fair Trade, been able to educate his children through scholarships from his growing co-operative, including sending one to medical school. The co-operative sell 30–40% of their coffee to the Fair Trade market at a fixed rate and the rest is subject to the vagaries of the international market, which at the moment gives them a very poor price for it. However, because of Fair Trade, not only is Edgar able to educate his children, thus aiding the development of their community, he also has a reliable income which does not fluctuate in the same way as it would if he relied solely on market-driven sales. This is the key feature of Fair Trade produce, the use of profit for local development projects and the steady price in order to give small growers a steady income. It won't solve all the problems of the third world by itself, but it can help some communities greatly.

A picture of Edgar and his wife, Blanca, can be seen here:

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