Feeding the world
“We are indebted to half the world before we finished breakfast.”
(Martin Luther King)
The environment is about plants and animals – but it’s about humans, too. They need to work and earn money, and they also need to eat. Many people do not have enough food. So scientists and governments are always looking for new ways to feed them.
In many countries, farmers have to sell their fruit and vegetables for very low prices. If they increase these prices, supermarkets will not buy them. There are other problems, too. When there is a drought, or flood, farmers often lose their crops. Then they have no money.
In 1994, a new organization, Fairtrade, decided to help farmers. Their motto is “A fair price for good food”. This organization works with both producers and supermarkets, the different parts of the supply chain. They guarantee a good price to the farmers, and they contribute money to educational and social projects. The supermarkets sell the products at a higher price, but it’s a fair one. And the consumer gets good quality, at a fair price. Everyone in this supply chain benefits!
Ana and Jose are farmers in Ecuador, South America. They grow bananas. “We don’t use many chemicals – Fairtrade limits this. Some companies don’t care. Chemicals make the fruit grow quickly at first. But then they enter the soil, and it degenerates. But we need the Fairtrade price to support us.”
In 2004, Fairtrade worked with similar organizations in 17 other countries in Europe, North America and Asia. There are more and more countries every year. There are now more than 130 products with the Fairtrade logo. These include coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, fruit juice, sugar and honey.
When a product carries the Fairtrade mark it means the producers and traders have met Fairtrade Standards. The standards are designed to address the imbalance of power in trading relationships, unstable markets and the injustices of conventional trade.
HOLDEN, Susan. Environment Portfolio Series. São Paulo: Macmillan, 2004. (Adaptado)
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