World Fair-Trade Day Raises Global Consciousness about Poverty

The concept and practice of fair trade has been practiced for many years. A primary example of fair trade is promotion of fair-trade coffee at politically progressive supermarkets. Paying a fair-trade price means a living wage for coffee farmers in emerging nations.

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Haiti, one of the most poverty-stricken nations on the globe, is a small island with a population of only 10 million inhabitants. Over half its revenues rely on domestic agricultural output. Further weakening its economy are trade-liberalization policies that harm the export market, and inadequate land infrastructure.

Since 2005, the international community has been promoting expansion and practice of fair trade, by celebrating World Fair-Trade Day (WFTD). Held on the second Saturday in May, WFTD brings renewed attention on how fair trade eases the burden of poverty and aids sustainable-farming practices.

Fair trade not-for-profits also help in other areas besides agriculture. Artisanal exports purchased at fair-trade prices mean better living standards for their creators. Decorative objects for the home, personal enhancement items, children's playthings, and music implements comprise some of fair-trade products exported.

Fair trade also operates in finance and labor sectors. Not-for-profit International Child Care offers micro-loans to women, giving them purchasing power for household necessities. They then vend items at town markets for profit. This allows women to become self-sustaining, teaching them new skills and increasing their confidence. In labor, fair trade optimizes opportunities for subsistence farmers and raises awareness about gender issues, and health and safety standards in the workplace.

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