Since 2005, when Wholesome Sweeteners helped develop Fair Trade Certification for sugar products, the company has raised over $1 million in certification premiums for the sugar cane farmers and beekeepers it works with in Malawi, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Mexico. The company announced the milestone this October, in conjunction with Fair Trade Month. The company also used the opportunity to announce the availability of a Fair Trade line of honey from Mayan beekeepers in Chiapas and the Yucatan. While I'll still buy my (organic) honey locally, it's great to see these beekeepers receive a fair price for their product. What's more interesting is how the extra million dollars is helping develop the communities producing the sweeteners we crave.
Through Fair Trade programs, cane farmers earn a better income for their hard work--allowing them to hold on to their land, send their kids to school and develop the quality of their harvest while sharpening their business acumen and strengthening their communities. Fair Trade agreements set trade prices, remove unnecessary middlemen (who, in the past, have taken a significant percentage of farmers' income) and provide access to pre-harvest lines of credit for cooperatives. The premiums stay within the co-ops and are invested in clinics and schools, equipment and other resources, education programs, communication systems and water wells. The premiums are wired directly to the co-ops' accounts each quarter.
I'm happy to pay a few cents more to ensure that the money I spend on what are generally luxury or frivolous items goes as directly as possible to the person who produced it. At home, that means buying directly from my local farmers whenever possible. For items that are imported from areas that have questionable or unknown labor and trade practices, Fair Trade is the best choice.
Congratulations to Wholesome Sweeteners for helping develop Fair Trade standards for sweeteners and for reaching the million dollar mark in extra income for their growers in three short years.
via Wholesome Sweeteners
More on Fair Trade Products
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America's Only Fair Trade Town: Media, PA
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Larry Tells Us About His Fair Trade Beans
A Sweeter Truth: Making Organic Fair Trade Chocolate in Ecuador
Jova Design: Dutch-Nepalese Fair Trade Jewelery