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"Help is nice, but a fair price for our coffee is even better. Then we no longer have to hold out our hands." This urgent call by some coffee farmers in Mexico in 1988 led to the creation of the Max Havelaar label. In November 1988 the first 'Fairtrade coffee’ became available. Now, 25 years later, fairtrade is a well-known concept, some thousands of Fairtrade products are available and the fairtrade movement is active in dozens of countries.


That the small coffee farmer in Latin America deserves a fair price for the product he delivers, is a thought that every man can follow and can agree with. And when you think about it, it’s not difficult to see that not only the coffee farmers deserve a fair price but also its employees and all others who have added something to the coffee I purchase. And it is also clear that all this applies not only to coffee but also to tea, bananas, peanut butter, clothing,... to everything that I consume.


He who produces something, or who participates in making a product, can do so only when there is a specific need for that product. It is the consumer that allows for an economic production process. He does this by purchasing and consuming products. The relationship between producer and consumer is a relationship of interdependence: producers and consumers cannot do without each other.


Without the consumer the producer cannot produce, without the producer, the consumer cannot consume. And in this relationship trade is the link between producers and consumers. Producer and consumer depend on each other and that will always be the case!


That makes paying fair prices a matter of common sense. By paying fair prices I contribute to an economy that is socially future-proof: the people involved in the products I consume can live in dignity when I pay a fair price - and that enables them to continue to produce, for me and others.

Fairness is the best economic policy.


John Hogervorst, November 2013

John  |  2013 11 04  |  Permalink  |  Share


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