While the discussion about fair trade with foreign countries can become complicated fairly quickly, and how citizens can support local and global farmers just as much so, there are a few steps people can take that can make a difference. Here are three options that help support farmers in developing countries.
Buying Fair Trade Products
Fairtrade International is a nonprofit organization that certifies different product supply chains that focus on fair trade with international farmers. While the organization is not a grocery store in itself, it lists brands and products that have the Fair Trade certificate.
The organization has specific standards that it looks for in everyone it works with, from traders to small producers to contractors. Some universal standards include acceptable health and safety conditions, workers being able to join a union to discuss working conditions and that the wage is equal to or higher than minimum wage.
This is a great starting point for someone who wants to become more conscious of which corporations and brands they should support. The list also provides direct links to the brands’ various websites where customers can order online. Supporting these brands and looking into the impact different corporations have is an easy way to help support farmers in developing countries.
Investing in Technology Advancements
Technological advancements can help farmers in developing countries finish their work faster and allow them to complete more work in less time. However, many new inventions need financial help to get off the ground.
One group working to support farmers in developing countries is KickStart International. The company specializes in irrigation pumps that are affordable and can filter and spray water efficiently. The company accepts donations in order to support its goal of making and sharing its inventions.
Another invention, known as the Hippo Roller, is able to collect more water and transport it much more easily than the traditional method of carrying one bucket for miles. By rolling a larger but lighter bucket, the Hippo Roller has helped more than half a million people access water faster and easier.
Like KickStart International, Hippo Roller accepts donations to help promote its invention. Financially supporting inventions that help farmers working long and grueling hours is one way to help support farmers in developing countries.
Support Farmers in Developing Countries by Volunteering
Multiple organizations exist specifically to help local and global farmers. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is an organization that allows volunteers to live on a farm (nearby or internationally) and be a worker for a season.
After originating as Working Weekends on Organic Farms in England in 1971, the organization grew to include 42 national groups across the world. By working closely with host families, WWOOF allows people to travel to another country for a season and lend a helping hand with farm work. This program offers a great opportunity to see firsthand where the majority of food comes from and how much work goes into producing it.
While some examples may not be available to everyone because of price or convenience, it is good to be aware of where the money being spent on food is going. Looking further into the treatment of farmers from different companies can be a simple step that goes a long way. Choosing one brand over another, lending a hand in technology advancements to ease the workload and physically going to a country to help out are all great ways to support farmers in developing countries.
– Marissa Wandzel