How 'fair' is Fair Trade Food?

Date: 19 November 2013

Venue: University of Antwerp, Stadscampus, R.002 - Rodestraat 14 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: IOB, USOS, MO*

Short description: Debating Development: Sushil Mohan (University of Dundee, United Kingdom) and Lily Deforce (Max Havelaar, Belgium). Moderator: John Vandaele.

Although Fair Trade Food still only represents a minor proportion of total food product sales, its recent growth and diversification have been remarkable. Especially among North American and European consumers there is much public support for the claims of Fair Trade Food: it guarantees farmers fair prices, a higher level of income security, and better labour conditions, thereby reducing poverty. However, these claims can be questioned. Does Fair Trade Food really alleviate poverty, to a greater extent than 'traditional' ways of producing food? To what extent does it benefit the “poorest” producers? Are there alternatives?

In this debate, Sushil Mohan (University of Dundee) who is the author of 'Fair Trade Without the Froth' will enter into discussion with Lily Deforce (Fairtrade Max Havelaar Belgium).

Sushil Mohan
Sushil Mohan has an MSc in Industrialisation, Trade and Economic Policy and a PhD in Economics from Strathclyde University (Glasgow). Before joining academic economics, Sushil worked for over ten years at key levels in trade promotion agencies in London and India. He is currently a Senior Lecturer and Director of the MSc International Business Programme, University of Dundee. Mohan is author of the book “Fair Trade without its froth” (2010). His research interests include International Trade Policy; Agricultural Trade Liberalisation; Fair Trade and International Development.

Lily Deforce
Lily Deforce studied Bio-Engineering at Ghent University and holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Nebraska. After working in the private sector for a number of years, she decided to focus on something closer to her own personal values and started at the NGO Vredeseilanden. Since 2008, she is the General Manager of Max Havelaar, Belgium. This unique position enables her to contribute to poverty alleviation through trade, thereby integrating the private sector, politics and pressing issues of the Global South.


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