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The primary mission of fair trade is to develop a more ethical and equitable alternative to free trade (also known as the Market), which generally dominates commercial exchanges of commodities between rich and poor countries, and almost always works to the disadvantage of the poor producer country. This alternative system tries to ensure that:

  • producers are paid higher prices than those prevailing in the conventional market for their products;
  • a minimum price is set at a level calculated to cover production costs, but which also permits a relatively reasonable standard of living for producers;
  • producer co-operatives are governed transparently and democratically;
  • contracts between buyers and sellers are drawn up in an equitable manner in order to prevent abuse or exploitation;
  • credit is extended to producers prior to the delivery of their product,
  • fair and reasonable labour standards are respected; and
  • organic cultivation is encouraged and rewarded with adequate financial compensation.