Who is Fairtrade for? Critical Reflections on Producer Experiences

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Tuesday 04 July 2017

12:00 PM - 02:00 PM


JA114, Jaguar Building

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Event details

Guest Speaker

Dr Agatha Herman, Cardiff University

Seminar Overview

Fairtrade was originally established with the aim of supporting small-producers to access markets through long-term, ‘fairly priced’, transparent and democratic relations. Mainstreaming has resulted in the influx of large corporations and plantation-style agriculture, which in turn has led to critiques around governance and fetishism.  In this paper, I ask who exactly is the subject of the contemporary Fairtrade movement?  I draw on original empirical material from across South Africa, Argentina and Chile to outline and analyse the experiences of farmer-owners, farmworkers and small producers, who represent three key stakeholder groups in Fairtrade production systems.  Through a focus on the wine industry, I argue that all three are in equivocal and relatively disempowering situations.  While there are developmental benefits, these are made ambiguous by struggles with the markets and standards, the lack of a culture of association, ongoing paternalism and limited business experience.  I conclude with reflections on the ongoing, and unequal, social and power relations within Fairtrade commodity networks, and recommendations for how these can be made more equitable.

Booking information

You can register for the event online.

Lunch will be provided.


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For enquiries please contact Mandy Bisla