Heavily distorted by massive subsidies in the largest producing countries (mainly USA and China), the cotton market is a tricky one for small-scale producers living in the South. Low prices, lack of environmental regulations and weak labour standards have pushed millions of African and Asian cotton farmers to the edge of poverty. Many West African countries, where cotton is mainly grown on small-scale farms, heavily depend on cotton production and export – but the farmers aren’t reaping the benefits they deserve.
Fairtrade certified cotton means that producers not only receive an agreed Minimum Price that covers their cost of sustainable production, but also a Fairtrade Development Premium of €50 for every ton of cotton they sell. Small-scale farmers can then spend this additional premium in social, environmental and economic projects – such as investing in schooling, health and production inputs. It is also very important to note that Fairtrade prohibits any Genetically Modified (GM) seeds in the cultivation of Fairtrade cotton.
For more information about global cotton trade and our recommendations for a fairer trading system, download he paper The Great Cotton Stitch Up from our Research & Literature section.
Fairtrade cotton products available in South Africa:
The range includes: woven shirts, cargo shorts and pants, graphic tees, wilderness boots and backpacks
You can buy this products at:
Retail: Due South Stores
Download the full Fairtrade Product Directory (XLS, last updated 30 April 2013)