“Fair trade is, fundamentally, a response to the failure of conventional trade to deliver sustainable livelihoods and development opportunities to people in the poorest countries of the world...Poverty and hardship limit people's choices while market forces tend to further marginalize and exclude them. This makes them vulnerable to exploitation, whether as farmers and artisans in family-based production units or as hired workers within larger businesses.” World Fair Trade Organization (http://wfto.com/)
By definition, fair trade is a commercial partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect. The goal of fair trade is equity in commerce which leads to sustained development and safeguards marginalized producers and workers. To that end, fair trade organizations commit to heighten public awareness and form a network committed to campaign for international trade rules and practices which benefit small and marginalized commercial enterprises worldwide.
“As a result, fair trade is both sustainable and socially transforming. The fair trade exchange of goods and services is much more than a financial transaction; it engenders positive social, economic, and environmental benefits. Fair trade increases economic value in the community, reduces poverty and inequality, regenerates the resource base that produces the original product, and engages producers and workers to participate in their organization.” (http://www.palestinefairtrade.org/)
Fair Trade in Palestine:
Fair trade is a relatively recent phenomenon in Palestine but is growing in popularity as people come to understand the message and benefits of fair trade. While BFTA focuses on handicrafts, there are many other fair trade products in Palestine, including olive oil, olives, almonds, sesame seeds and honey.
The Arab Fair Trade Forum (http://www.aftf.bethlehem.edu/ ) was established by the Palestinian Fair Trade Network in 2008. The purpose of AFTF is to unite the efforts of the different stakeholders of fair trade movement in Palestine. The Network is still in its initial stages and currently has five partners as well as one support organization.
The Palestine Fair Trade Alliance (http://www.palestinefairtrade.org) was created in September 2009 in partnership with the Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans (BFTA) network. PFTA is based in New York, U.S.A. but works with BFTA using the principles and practices of fair trade to achieving their goals.
Palestine Fair Trade Association (http://palestinefairtrade.com) was founded in 2004 in Jenin and is the largest fair trade producers' union in Palestine, with over 1700 small Palestinian farmers united in fair trade collectives and cooperatives across the country.