The Desperate Plight of Africa’s Cotton Farmers

I read this article today.  It is a little old now as it was written  in November 2010 by Elizabeth Day for The Observer.  However is is still very much up to date. 

It explains the subsides given by USA, EU and the China to their cotton farmers – and then the impact this has on the price cotton farmers get in the very poor nations.  The subsidies really do manipulate the price of cotton and has such a negative impact on the farmers in such places as Mali, West Africa and Gujarat Northern India where we purchase Fairtrade certified cotton for our company Cotton Roots

Liz outlines the way in which Fairtrade has a positive impact.  The “Premium” from the Fairtrade way of doing business resulting in access to health care, clean water and education. 

There is also an interesting video which supports the article – watch it here. 

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 continues to give me results in our range of Fairtrade t shirts, aprons, school uniform and and Fairtrade polo shirts

Swayam Academy School Children - India

The real idea is to share.  Although the recession is having an impact on us here in the UK.  Our wealth is beyond the experince of the cotton farmers  I met in India.  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 and make a real difference in their lives.

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