Letter from Fair Trade USA President & CEO Paul Rice
Dear Fair Trade Supporters, Last January, in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, we all watched the footage of human tragedy in shock and heartbreak. Here at Fair Trade USA, we wanted to see how we could help. Our staff traveled to Haiti several times this year, in some cases accompanied by industry partners who share our sense of calling and are eager to help the Haitian people rebuild. What we discovered: Fair Trade mangoes represent a vital opportunity to address the poverty and devastation of our hemisphere’s poorest nation. Fair Trade is already making a difference in the lives of Haitian mango farmers like 73-year old Eligé Elonicé. With less than an acre of land, Eligé has spent his whole life growing rice and beans for his family and mangoes for cash. He owns just eleven mango trees. Like many small farmers, Eligé had no leverage to negotiate a decent price for his harvest, so he always sold it to local middlemen at a fraction of its export value.
Then came Fair Trade. After getting certified in 2009, Eligé and his neighbors sold their entire crop to Whole Foods Markets and more than tripled their income because of Fair Trade prices. The result for Eligé and his family? Food on the table. Kids in school. Hope for the future at a time when hope in Haiti is scarce.
Here is where you can personally have an impact. Elonicé’s mango cooperative is struggling to develop the business skills they need to be a reliable partner to their U.S. buyers. Fair Trade certification requires that cooperatives maintain good financial records, transparent governance, and sound management practices. Our staff has teamed up with dedicated local NGOs to support these training needs.
With your funding support, our staff can continue to help these farmers develop the skills they need to stay in the Fair Trade network, grow their membership, and improve their lives. Now is the time. Fair Trade USA recently received an exciting challenge grant from an international foundation, so every charitable contribution you make will be matched, dollar for dollar.
Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution online or send a check by mail to Fair Trade USA, 1500 Broadway, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612. Your generous donation allows Fair Trade USA to send our staff where they are most needed, when they are most needed. Please join us! With gratitude and warm holiday greetings, Paul Rice, President & CEO