fair trade conflict

Can fair trade products stop the fighting?


Would you buy raisins from Afghanistan, coffee from Congo or olive oil from Palestine? A recent trend in fair trade has seen a growth of products coming to the UK from 'conflict zones' around the world. And to coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight, Ethical Consumer magazine has published a short survey into this new phenomenon.


Sarah Irving, the Report's author, argues that: "offering people decent prices for fair trade produce can help divert young men especially away from involvement in militias. Developing trust-based structures, such as co-operatives, can help restore social stability too."


The Report also looks at some of the huge practical problems with trading in these new frontiers. Sometimes simply moving the goods through a variety of checkpoints can become impossible. In other cases it has been too dangerous for Fairtrade certifiers to enter a region.


Although this new trend has come about as much by accident as by design, and its current impact is tiny, it does seem to offer a glimmer of hope in a fractured world.


The report ends with a list of fair trade products available from conflict zones which include:

Tropical Wholefoods - Afghan raisins

Sainsbury - Gourmet coffee form Congo

Boots - Fairtrade apricot beauty products

Zaytoun - Olive oil from Palestine (West Bank)


The full article is availablee free on the Ethical Consumer website at: www.ethicalconsumer.org/CommentAnalysis/Features/fairtradeconflict.aspx


To speak to the Report's author, contact mail@sarahirving.net