In my post on Fairtrade – the brand – there was a response to the Organisation’s criticism of Dilmah. You can find it here. In this case, and countless others previously, we as producer are being critcised by Fairtrade for not being, Fairtrade. Their reference is to their system of certification of course and not to the concept of fairness in trade but it reveals a sinister arrogance and an irony which seems lost on them.
Dilmah pioneered the concept of a priducer adding value to their crop. Before that and to a large extent event today the system is that producers in less developed countries produce, and supply raw material to packers, usually large corporations, who pack. This denies the producer any involvement in the most lucrative aspects of the industry – branding and value addition. Certifying the producer and their raw material, only whitewashes and perpetuates this fundamentally unfair system.
The final solution lies not in fairtrade or its heavily marketed brand, but in the producers taking control of their destiny by entering the areas of packing, branding and marketing. The consumer should not be coerced by guilt inducing advertising, to pay more for ‘Fairtrade certified’ products. Rather every product should be fair and we as producers would like to reward consumers, at no extra charge, with authenticy, ethics and quality as only producers know and understand, for buying genuinely ethical, producer owned brands.