Reported by– Neha Bhayana, Roshani Parekh
Facilitator: – Aurelien Atidegla
Organisation/ Country – Benin
Key issues debated:
•The link between Fair Trade and Local Development
•The need for localised Fair trade
•The necessity to validate Fair Trade not only at local but also social level.
•The need to link Fair Trade to development at the local, national and international levels
•The socio-political context of fair trade
Key Questions Addressed:
•How to sensitise the local consumer to Fair Trade?
•What role do municipalities and the local authority play in Fair Trade?
•How can Fair Trade movement help in local, national and international development?
•Local Development must be integrated with the six dimensions and articulated.
•It must address the questions of education, better health care, rights of men and women and the general condition of life.
•Fair Trade must be a political project. There must be proximity between producers and consumers.
•The human individual must be at the centre of the local development movement.
•Work must be done towards building solidarity among people.
•Fair Trade must be linked at the socio-political level.
The three key elements required for Local Development
The question of fair price for distributors or middlemen remains unresolved.
Speaker - Madame Djakabe
Country/Continent - Africa
Madame Djakabe stated that the main objective of local level development should be to make the local community responsible for their welfare. The people in the North also feel the effects of the problems that their counterparts in the South face. The ‘Local Development Project’, which aims at empowering the people to be self-sufficient, has been successful in creating basic infrastructure like schools and hospitals. The program also promoted participation at the village level and especially encouraged women to be part of the local development activities. There is a dynamic relationship between different segments of society in fair trade to local level development.
Speaker : Safia Minney
Organisation/Country : People Tree and Global Village, Britain and Japan
Fair Trade and Local Development are two equally important objectives. Fair trade could be successful if it is well designed and has distinct characteristics that come from the local area. Fair Trade is a sustainable option that could help the process of empowerment of human beings and in ensuring the sustainability of life in nature.
A noteworthy example for this is the experience of the organic cotton farmers in Maharashtra (India). There are 70 farmers covering the area of 1500 hectares. People Tree has been paying the farmers 40% extra price for buying cotton from them. This organic cotton helps the community to break free from pesticide use, heavy debt and resultant suicide by farmers. It also helps the farmers to avoid using genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds and strengthens the ability of farmers to grow indigenous seeds.
People Tree has also moved to South India to promote manufacture of organic cotton products. Several workshops were conducted for the benefit of deaf and mute women who are now part of the project. It was started 6 years ago with only 8 women working but at present there are 150 women working in a three-storied factory. It is a dynamic project with new fabrics made in creative and new designs. This collection is going to be sold at Selfridges in London as a competitive product rather than community product. The price of an organic T-shirt should be 50% more expensive than some of the established international brands, but they are not. This is because, though they subscribe to fair trade norms, the People Tree products do not have overheads such as management and advertisement costs slapped on them.
The second example she gave was of the hand-woven fabrics of Bangladesh. There are millions of weavers in Bangladesh living with very low wages. People Tree adds value to Bangladesi villagers’ products by making them experts in hand embroidery, natural dyeing, etc. The Fair Trade network is growing stronger and the Bangladeshi groups were coming closer. They are now buying cotton from India so that they can add value to it and sell it at a premium. They have different groups making handmade lace, packaging material, etc. where people with different skills help in making one finished product.
•Environment capacity building and knowledge sharing are very important in Fair Trade and Local Development.
•Fair Trade must support local human resources by encouraging technicians, artisans and local designers.
•Fair Trade needs to have support in terms of Fair Trade towns and cities. If there is governmental support then Fair Trade city or town program will develop quickly.
Speaker - Jared Ogonyo
Organisation/Country : Kenya Federation of Fair Trade
The experiences of Kenya in the handicrafts sector are different from that in Asia. Success of fair trade is dependent to a large extent on issues were mainly the technologies available, range of products and quality. Success in the market is dependent on the quality of products. The artisans are constantly striving to develop new products. Unless a variety of products are available, there would be little possibility of these artisans being able to beat the competition. Simultaneously, there must also be appropriate government policies to improve the living conditions of the artisans. The Fair Trade movement in Africa is gaining momentum, but still a lot more needs to be done. The scarcity of working capital is a major problem. The fair trade groups should go in for cooperation at the local level so that they can compete at the international level.
Speaker– Karien M’Bengue
Organisation/Country– RIPESS, Senegal
There are several dimensions integral to local development, including social, cultural and ecological aspects. Development must start from the local level and then move to the national and international level. The Local Development Movements and Fair Trade Movements should influence government policies and work for the democratisation of local development initiatives. Fair trade at the local level can commercialize local production and add value to it.
Speaker- Michele Chauvrette
Country– CECI, Canada
The economic reality of Canada is different from that of the rest of America. Canadians have been affected by globalisation. His organisation is focusing on the exchange of local products to reinforce the economy. He made the following suggestions:
•The local organizations have to be involved in fair trade
•Fair Trade need to move beyond international export and be localized
•Fair trade must attract attention of the consumer
•The networking capacity of fair Trade organizations should be used to influence government policies.