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5 Things You Need To Know About Fair Trade In Malaysia

Fair trade, as described by the Fairtrade Foundation is:

A system of certification that aims to ensure a set of standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient. For farmers and workers, Fairtrade means workers’ rights, safer working conditions and fairer pay. For shoppers, it means high-quality, ethically produced products.

Many of us in the younger generations are very much concerned about fair trade, helping low-income workers and eliminating the middle-men. Although Malaysia implemented the Fair Trade Practices Policy (FTPP) on 26 October 2005, the country still lacks proper guidelines for fair trade, leading to much confusion over what can be considered fair trade or not.

Here are 5 beneficial facts about fair trade in Malaysia:

#1: It Benefits Rural Income-Earners

The primary purpose of fair trade is to provide better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers around the world, but particularly in lower-income countries. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), fair trade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the producers from low-income countries, enabling them to improve their position and have more control over their lives[1].

#2: Remove The Middlemen

Fair trade aims to remove the middlemen from the income supply chain. Traditionally, a middleman is a broker, go-between, or intermediary to a process or transaction. This intermediary will earn a fee or commission in return for services rendered in matching buyers and sellers. 

Unfortunately, this relationship rarely benefits rural income-earners such as farmers and fishermen with middlemen exploiting small producers with lower price offerings and a higher rate of interest, which is deducted from the proceeds of the producer’s sale to the middlemen[2].

#3: Seeks To Combat Poverty

By offering decent prices for products and ensuring that local producers earn their fair keep, fair trade can help combat the threat of poverty. It can support jobs and improve living conditions for producers, their families and the local businesses they buy from. With higher wages, local producers will be able to afford more food, medical care and education. It can also boost economic sectors, thereby creating more jobs and a source of stable increased wages[3].

#4: Look For The Mark

Next time you’re in the supermarket, be sure to check for the Fairtrade Marks on certain products such as fruit, vegetables, coffee and even chocolate. Products bearing this label meet the internationally agreed social, environmental and economic Fairtrade Standards. The FAIRTRADE Marks are registered certification marks and trademarks owned and licensed by Fairtrade International[4].

Source: Facebook

#5: Find A Fair Trade Store

Alternatively, you can always visit a fair trade store or fair trade shopping site if you want to guarantee that the products you purchase are going to the farmers and other rural income earners. These places ensure that their profits go directly to their local suppliers and producers, cutting the middleman out entirely. Some places you can visit are Hive eco-store, Langit Collective or Biji Biji.

Explore our sources

  1. Fairtrade FAQ. Link.
  2. F. Mohamed Arshad. (2020). My say: Can middlemen be eliminated, especially in the agriculture and fishing sectors? Link.
  3. Borgen Project. (2019). WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FAIR TRADE. Link.
  4. The Fairtrade Marks. Link.

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