This year Fairtrade Fortnight (27th February – 11th March) encourages you to ‘Take a Step for Fairtrade’, and make change in your everyday life. By buying Fairtrade products you are supporting a fairer deal for producers in the Global South and contributing to sustainable livelihoods.
There are other changes you can make too. Join us to ‘Take a Step for Trade Justice’.Scroll down to read about our fun sock puppet photo competition and interactive educational workshops. This year the Fairtrade spotlight is on cotton and how unjust trade policies of the US and EU have devastating impacts on countries of the Global South.
Cotton Trade Injustice: Did you know?
• The US subsidises its cotton industry by $2-4 billion every year! The EU also spends around $1 billion annually on cotton subsides.
• If US cotton subsidies were eliminated, world cotton prices would increase by 6–14% and increase average household incomes in West Africa by 8–20%. Also, approximately 1,000,000 people would be lifted out of food poverty.
• It is estimated that the subsidies cost West African cotton producing nations $250m per year from lost income.
• In the US there are approximately 25,000 cotton farmers. In West Africa around 10 million people depend on cotton for their living!
Comhlámh campaigns for trade justice because we believe that unjust trade rules and structures are a crucial root cause of global poverty.
Also, why not come along to one of our interactive, participatory workshops across the country. The workshops will explore unjust trade practices, how they impact on developing countries and how you can act to bring about change. We’ll be in Tralee 28th Feb, Galway 5th or 6th March and Dublin 8th March.
Other Facts and Figures
• Cotton production is crucial to the economy of Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad. It accounts for up to 60% of their foreign exchange earnings.
• In India cotton farmers commit suicide at the rate of 3 per day. Unable to make a living from their land, they feel they have no alternative.
• The cotton industry is the largest employer in the world. An estimated 125 million people globally are directly dependent on cotton production for their living.
• In 2001 the latest round of WTO negotiations was launched in an attempt to create new global trade rules that would help poor countries, including on the issue of cotton. But since then $31.45 billion has been given out to cotton farmers in the US and EU, dampening down global cotton prices. This reduces demand for, and value earned from West African cotton. It restricts these countries’ ability to export their way out of poverty, thus perpetuating reliance on aid.
It’s time to put an end to damaging policies and make global trade fair! You can help.
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