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A demand for more equity in the agricultural sector

By Emilie Sarrazin-Biteye, president of the National board of FAIR[e] un monde equitable.

Translation by Manon Laveau

The agricultural sector is prone to unfair and deceptive trade practices implemented by food industry and distributors. Producers, from France and Southern countries, have to face very low and unstable prices that neither cover production costs, nor enable them to live from their job, invest and get a long-term vision of their activities. We, French farmers and consumers, involved in the Fair[e] un monde équitable movement, are rising up for these issues, fighting for more equity in the agricultural sector. In this context, Fair Trade actors –brands, labels, volunteers – help the producers by implementing a minimum price that ensures them a long-term stability of their salary and enable them to get a decent living thanks to their job.

Due to prices regulations, they can secure their future, offer better quality products and turn progressively towards more eco-friendly farming practices. In order to apply these principles in France and promote a citizen-led agriculture system, the French Local Fair Trade Charter was adopted in June 2014. As a first very-impactful easy step, we can all make our consuming habits more sustainable. Let us reconsider our selection criteria for daily products. Instead of always chasing after the lowest price, we should choose higher quality products that respect more nature and humankind, for which we can identify the producer and processor. Let us also diversify our purchase habits, switching progressively from weekly supermarket grocery shopping to multiple regular purchase places.

French article   

The next step, as engaged consumers, is to require from supermarkets and brands more quality, equity, transparency and humanity in our daily products. Eventually as citizens, we can help aggrieved farmers demand politicians to regulate prices and farming markets, to act for a better protection of consumers and producers and fight against unfair trade practices of marketers, distributors, and processors. 

Although exportation is considered a solution for many countries to economic problems, it fosters agro-industrial mono production systems generating big volumes. This encourages the economic insecurity of small producers, who get increasingly dependent on international liberalized markets that rely on speculation instead of production costs. 

Farmers must definitely secure their future, by taking control of their production opportunities, diversifying and relocating their marketing channels as well as reducing the number of intermediaries in order to get closer to the consumers. Finally, we can no longer ignore the immediate threats of global warming on the environment that incite us to change our habits. Fair Trade can show total relevance to tackle the tremendous environmental issue the entire humanity is facing.

 

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