Monday, January 08, 2007

Always a Downside it Seems

Have You Considered What Your Buyers Want?

The New York Times article “Economist on Fair Trade,” flagged up a recent article in The Economist which wrinkled its nose and tried to pick apart the argument for encouraging practices such as fair trade, organic farming and locally grown products.

It singled out fair trade items, specifically coffee, for its inflated prices. Although there is a larger price tag so that farmers in developing countries can get a fair share of what the branded companies sell, the popularity and higher price tags for fair trade goods have made the sector more attractive to other companies and has increased the demand for a product at a time when policies are being developed to reduce overproduction.

It states that organic farming uses much more land than is currently cultivated and that, were every farm to switch over to this practice, the rain forests wouldn’t have much of a hope.

Bloggers such as Tufts University food economist Parke Wilde and Samuel Fromartz author of Organic Inc. and contributor to environmental blog Gristmill dismiss the The Economist’s argument and point out that its claims on fair trade and organic farming are exaggerated.

Don’t ignore the reality on the ground if you want to build a stronger business.

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