Fair Trade’s New Frontiers

The fair trade movement has, by paying just prices for export crops like coffee, fruit and cotton, improved the lives of some of the world’s poorest farmers. But recently – as much by accident as design – several new Fairtrade certifications and fair trade projects have tried to bring these benefits to producers in confict zones. Sarah Irving finds out about the challenges they face.

According to the World Bank, one-third of the 1.4 billion people living below the poverty line around the world live in ‘fragile’ countries. UNICEF says that half of the children who die before their fifth birthday also lives in conflict-affected countries and ‘failed states,’ as do half of all young children not in primary school.

Tackling poverty in conflict-affected areas is a terrific challenge. Such countries are often driven by corruption and mistrust, as well as the obvious dangers to people trying to live and work in them. But, say an increasing number of fair trade pioneers, the just economic model used in more peaceful countries can also help to alleviate the problems of conflict zones.

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Tags: commerce, consumption, fair trade, trade

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