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We can all do justice as responsible consumers

November 8, 2012 ·  By Fr. Shay Cullen

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We can all do justice as responsible  consumers
by Fr. Shay Cullen
email: shaycullen@preda.org
(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times,in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

Panfilo  57, is  a carpenter, vegetable and mango farmer from  Moriki, Kapalong, Davao Del Norte. In1986 he planted fifty one   mango trees and now they are giving mangos fruit and while not all bear fruit every year he can earn 20,000 Pesos ($486)  each  annual harvest selling to a fair Trade buyer.

This he says is almost double what he would earn from the commercial buyers who reject half of his fruit.The Preda Fair Trader buys  all the fruit ,big and  small  scratched  or  bruised because they slice and dry them.

He earns more besides because he gets a premium payment for every kilo a profit share  from Preda. This kind of fair trading that encourages small farmers to plant mangos and other  fruit bearing trees and  fight climate change.Above all it keeps his family together and sends his kids to school.

Doing justice for those farmers who have been exploited and impoverished for generations is what Fairtrade is all about. It is a combination of trade and social justice. It helps people to help themselves and become self-reliant and feed themselves and their children. It brings justice into the market place and it is what we need in the  developing world to end poverty and misery and disease.

 Its it just being a decent business person or a fair minded consumer willing to pay a fair price and treat the producers with respect and give them the dignity they deserve. By paying a fair  price and not trying to  exploit them  by giving low prices  is  what is just and right.

 It is immoral  to be  taking advantage of them because they are hungry and need to sell there produce and desperate to get some money however small. Exploitation robs the people of their energy,and initiative to  plant and grow and toil . The rich  blames them for their poverty  and being lazy  when in fact the are malnourished because of  being exploited and cheated.Not only are they sick and tired  but when in the end of all the hard work their produce is worth so little. That’s the cause of dire poverty and there is much of it in the Philippines.

Because its not a fair  trading system the poor remain remain poor and their children go malnourished and have to  work on the land to help earn enough for them just to survive. That’s the curse of the  unjust system run by the  dynastic families that rule this country  and live luxuriously while the  poor are like Lazarus at the  gates starving.

The champions who work for justice in trade and human rights,they have put aside personal profit and self-seeking and have dedicated themselves to the cause of  alleviating the dire poverty and hunger that still stalks our world. They are the grassroots people who made this Fair Trade movement grow and they are a people-power for justice and human rights.

Developmental FairTrade  as implemented by Preda FairTrade is specific in overcoming injustice and making a better future for the poor and oppressed people and transforming society and the way people think about the people in the developing world. We don’t want people to buy Fair Trade products as an act of charity out of pity. But because they are quality, desirable and valuable products in themselves and also because they are fairly traded and not the product of exploitation or child labor.

One billion are still hungry on this planet of plenty. It just so happens that the wealth is accumulated by the few while the many go without the basic needs of life. The champions of FairTrade are those who have challenged this inequality that causes much human suffering and death by hunger and disease.

The goal  of Preda Development fair Trade is to help  people to overcome poverty by their own efforts earning just wages  and returns for their hard work and improving there communities through team and community self-help development projects.

The success of fair trade relies greatly on the quality of the products, the just wages and conditions under which they are made. But equally it depends on the choice of committed consumers to act in a morally right way and choose to buy the fair trade products rather than the commercially supplied products. Doing justice makes our lives happier and the lives of the workers.

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