World Fair Trade Day 2008

Yesterday, trade justice activists worldwide advocated the importance of fair trade products. The benefits of fair trade food generally mean healthier, organic alternatives to conventional foods loaded with man-made pesticides, carcinogens and who knows what else. In recent years it has become trendy to go to the local Whole Foods and purchase anything that is organic with a black and white fair trade stamp of approval on it.

However, with the recent surge in world food prices, more people with limited disposable income are choosing to spend their money on conventional foods, to the dismay of organic food producers.

From Newsweek:

Organic foods face the same pressures that have driven up the cost of plain old white bread 16.3 percent this year. Energy and commodity prices, along with
corn farmers' gold rush into ethanol (feeding our tanks instead of our tummies),
are sending the grocery bill skyward. Organics' growth and premium prices once
persuaded farmers to go through the costly three-year process to cleanse their
fields of chemicals to become USDA-certified as a green grower. But now with
corn, grain and soybeans at record prices, the financial incentive is to grow
conventionally. The rising price of organic grain is making it tough to feed all
those free-range chickens and synthetic-hormone-free cows. Some organic farmers
in the Northeast are even converting back to chemically enhanced crops to boost
the bottom line. Fewer organic farmers means higher prices and less variety on
greengrocers' shelves. "Organics is becoming the private school of food," says
Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, which tracks
organic-food production. "It's great if you can afford it. But pricing it out of
people's reach is not a strategy for expansion."

I was happy, though, to read in Thursday's New York Times about inner city residents taking charge of not only growing their own food, but also making a killing at the market with their homegrown products are sold.

From The New York Times:

...This urban agriculture movement has grown even more vigorously
elsewhere. Hundreds of farmers are at work in Detroit, Milwaukee, Oakland and
other areas that, like East New York, have low-income residents, high rates of
obesity and diabetes, limited sources of fresh produce and available,
undeveloped land...

...Some operations have figured out how to make real money.

On a fringe of Philadelphia, a nonprofit demonstration project
used densely planted rows in a half-acre plot and generated $67,000 from
high-value crops like lettuces, carrots and radishes.

In Milwaukee, the nonprofit Growing Power operates a one-acre farm crammed
with plastic greenhouses, compost piles, do-it-yourself contraptions, tilapia
tanks and pens full of hens, ducks and goats — and grossed over $220,000 last
year from the sale of lettuces, winter greens, sprouts and fish to local
restaurants and consumers.

One key to financial success is having customers with the wherewithal to
buy your goods. In New York, Bob Lewis, the head of the city office for the
state Department of Agriculture and Markets, helped make this happen by getting
21 farmers at 16 sites approved to accept checks from the Farmers’ Market
Nutrition Program, a supplement to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and
senior nutrition programs.

Sarita Daftary, the program director for East New York Farms, estimates
that about 60 percent of the market’s gross revenue came from the farmers’
market checks. And by the end of this year, changes to WIC will give city
residents another $14 million specifically for fresh fruits and

Fair trade and sustenance farming rocks, y'all!

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At Tuesday, May 27, 2008 1:55:00 AM, Blogger success said...

US Retailers Provide Extraordinary Support to African Women Exporters
WorldWomenTradeFair.com - May 13, 2008

(PRNewsChannel) / Los Angeles, Calif. – African women handicrafts exporters say they lack the export working capital and the information they need to develop product lines that appeal to US buyers and consumers.

“Making quality products is not enough," says Yemis Ajayi, owner of Arisimi Designs Nigeria. “It is the suppliers-buyers relationship that is the key to helping African women entrepreneurs to succeed in the US market. Export working capital is a major barrier to us and it is understandable if buyers are reluctant to pre-pay for products because they're not certain if they will receive their products.”

US retailers like Eleanor Path, owner of Santa Monica Gallery Acapillow is among a select group of US retailers providing extraordinary support to African Women Exporters from arranging favorable payment terms, product development and placing consistent orders.

“I am very excited to see our handcrafted ethnic beaded necklaces on display in the beautiful antique mahogany glass case in Acapillow gallery," says Dorothy Taro, owner of Dorostel Kenya. "I am very thankful to Eleanor and Margaret Galabe for the training I received at the gallery on new designs, trends, and developing a product line. I am extremely happy with the exposure."

Because of the arrangement, Dorothy Taro sold nine boxes of handicrafts to another retailer. The business linkage occured at the International Handcrafted Gifts and Home Textile Expo in Santa Monica, hosted by the World Women Trade Fair.

The mission of the World Women Trade Fair (www.worldwomentradefair.com) is to provide economic opportunities to women living in third-world countries and to assist them to gradually build a broad-based market.

At the Expo, were other African women exporters who are now looking forward to increasing their exports.

For example, Jane Kiunsi from the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Tanzania has been busy sourcing pre-export financing to fill the large order request from US retailers for her beautiful intricate woven baskets.

Estelle Ratanga, owner of Facette Creations from Gabon is happy with the support that she is receiving from Patricia Jackson “distributor of African dolls.” Patricia Jackson is working with Ratanga to distribute her African dolls-starting by developing a brand, producing a new line of dolls in various sizes and groupings, a story line, and hand-sewn doll clothes which can be sold separately.

“I am amazed, says Ratanga. "It is important to have a buyer who is able to educate you and work with you to reach your goals.”

“Our biggest challenge is financing," says Dorothy Tarro, who is setting up a project in Kenya to produce eco-green table wares using sisal grass. "Our products are attractive to US buyers because of the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade agreement which allows for duty-free and tariff –free for over 6000 products from African into the USA.”

Media Contact: Margaret Galabe, World Women Trade Fair
Phone: (661) 456-2286
email: Margaret@worldwomentradefair.com
Web site: www.worldwomentradefair.com

This press release was issued by PRNewsChannel.com. For more information


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