Sunday, September 6, 2015

Are we Fair trade?

Are we Fair trade?

Mzuribeads operates in a urban village in Uganda, making paper and natural beads. An international company proud to be a community cooperative in Uganda and registered as a limited company in the UK. 

Uganda's main exports, coffee, cotton and tea are sold to large corporations around the world. Prices for these materials
are determined in wall street and other financial centres. When demand is low, prices for these raw products plummet. European farmers receive subsidies from governments that act as a buffer for fluctuating prices. Ugandan farmers are left exposed and are often faced with making a loss.

Farmer's facing huge losses can do two things; They can sell off their land to bigger farms or developers. Smaller businesses very rarely get a fair price for the land. If they decide to keep farming, they are forced to grow and produce more in a shorter period. This might make money for a couple of years but when the soil is completed eroded and has lost most of it fertility, the farmers start losing money again. More pesticides and chemical fertilisers are used that increases the problems. 

Lives, families and the environment are destroyed. Trade agreements like the Trans- Pacific Partnership or TPP ensure international corporations receive their large profit margins. By keeping wages low, they force governments and local people to damage and destroy their land. The central aim of fair trade is a fair price. It is not fair that a corporation, can turn cheap raw materials  into vast profits in international markets. 

Mzuribeads central aim is to supply a fair price for the products made. We are not fair trade certified for two reasons. Firstly, it is mostly food items that qualify and secondly, it costs a lot of money to go through the process of certification. Mzuribeads, as a small business, does not have the funds.

We are part of a movement, a movement that campaigns against TPP and other agreements that put so many people at risk. The movement is gaining momentum and needs to win, for people and the land we live on. People around the world are fighting many battles, Mzuribeads is proud to be part of the fight. 

Mzuribeads, Uganda, cooperative, fair prices,  Africa, Beads, volunteer Uganda, Ugandan beads, trade, fair-trade

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