I read this article today. It is a little old, written by Elizabeth day in November 2010 for The Observer. However it is still very much up to date.
It explains the subsudies given to USA, European and the Chinese cotton farmers – and then the impact this has on the cotton farmers in the very poor nations. The subsidies really manipulate the price of cotton and has such a negative impact on the farmers in such places as Mali, West Africa.
Liz outlines the way in which Fairtrade has a positive impact. The “Premium” resulting in access to health care, clean water and some education.
There is also an interesting video.
I have recently had an update from the Fairtrade Foundation regarding the fair trade cotton production for the garments we have made for us in India. The organisation at the start of our Fairtrade chain is an organisation called Delight. What a great name.
The premium has partly financed water tanks for the groups livestock, as well as a communal stage for meetings and entertainment. They have also spent their premium on helping to finance and construct an English medium school called Swayam Academy through the Mahima Education and Welfare Society trust. The children of the tribal farmers (approx. 110) receive free education, transport, stationary and books at this school. I have visited this school and some of the cotton farmers. Once again I am reminded that when I read articles like the one Liz has written and think back to my visit then the inspiration it gives me results in our range of Fairtrade t shirts, aprons, school uniform and and polo shirts.
The real idea is to share. Although the recession is having an impact on us here in the UK. Our wealth is beyond the experience of the cotton farmers I met. If we at Cotton Roots together with our customers share just a little, the effects are magnified in such a important way to those growing the cotton in India and Africa.