EYMD – What happens when I buy Fair Trade bananas?

Cobertura do European Youth Event 2014 (Estrasburgo, 9 a 11 de maio) no âmbito do European Youth Media Days.

What happens when I buy Fair Trade bananas?

Interview with Alexander Flores, from Aprainores association (El Salvador), after the YO!Debate about Fair Trade at the European Youth Event 2014.

Aline Flor and Alexia Kalaitzi

Image and editing: Aline Flor

Want to support a kid going to school? Choose fair trade!

The World Fair Trade Day was the date set for the Special YO!Debate about social responsibility in economy. Throughout the world, trade is done almost recklessly, without much attention paid to the conditions of all the intervenients in the chain of supply, such as child labor and other Human Rights violations. Although both the European Parliament and the Commision had already officially recognised the beneficial work done by the Fair Trade movement, it is not yet a central matter in the economic decisions.

Alexander Flores opened the debate sharing his experience with farmers in El Salvador. As the representative of Aprainores, an association of families whose sole cash income is from small cashew holdings, he talked about the importance of fair trade for communities in developing countries, stating that a fair payment is essential for their development. Supporting fair trade products means supporting the families in these underdeveloped countries: “you’re also allowing that their kids go to school”, he exemplified.

Different political parties’ representatives also spoke up to the YO!Fest audience. Ivo Thijssen, Dutch candidate for the European Elections from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, defended the “right to live in both sides of the borders”, i.e., assuring economic fairness and a dignifying behaviour since the primary resources. Party of European Socialists’ advisor Karen Mets also reinforced the need to “make sure that the right kind of trade is taking place”.

Chiara Miglioli, representing the Greens/EFA Group, stated that trade shouldn’t be a means in itself and alerted that action must be taken to effectively respect the rights of all people involved in the production chain. Most international trades, such as the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, are not bound to adopt sanctions in case of any of the parts have human rights violations – and EU should step up and counter that.

Moderator Bettina Schwarzmayr brought attention to the question of policy cohesion: does it make sense to subsidize farmers’ families that struggle to survive and at the same time have policies that allow huge food dumping? The three candidates agreed that reforming the agriculture regulation should be a priority, as well as assuring that the development aid is well distributed.

Aline Flor

 

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