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Last Updated:[27-07-2010 00:37:27 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Your Drink Can Help Some Farmers Get Living Wages

tradenews TransFair USA, a non-profit organization and a third-party certifier of Fair Trade (FT) products in the US has now launched FT-labelled vodka which ensures farmers from Bolivia to fetch commensurate earnings for their produce. The organization has added on Fair Vodka of Fair Trade Spirits Company into its kitty to fulfil its goal of including almost everything which is produced through sustainable methods that provide equal benefits to everyone and everything involved in the whole cycle of supply chain.

After being in the market for more than a decade, TransFair today has in excess of 6,000 FT products available in 105 product categories including wine, fruit, chocolate, rice, flowers and garments. To San Francisco Chronicle Paul Rice, TransFair USA's founder and CEO told he was inspired by the success of FT coffee in Europe and decided to organize a co-op of small coffee farmers in Nicaragua several years ago.

Rice informed during the inception, his co-op could gather the trust of just 24 "brave souls" who each gave it 10 bags of coffee on consignment. It sold for $1.26 per pound, and $1 went to the farmers, who were used to receiving only 10 cents per pound. His co-op comprises of about 3000 farmers today.

Jean-Francois Daniel, co-founder of the 2-year-old Fair Trade Spirits Company based in Paris who has similar background and experience like that of Rice said his distillery made Fair Vodka from quinoa, a grain grown by an association of 1,200 small, TransFair-certified farmers in the Bolivian Highlands. He claimed the daily wage for a non- FT quinoa farmer in Bolivia was $1 per day, but the FT quinoa farmers which his company worked with earned $2.80 per day.

Currently, the vodka is available at some stores and restaurants in California. Amanda Womack the general manager of Cask, the first San Francisco retailer to sell Fair Vodka acknowledged even at $35 per bottle, Fair was one of the less-expensive vodkas Cask sold through its store and website.

According to TransFair, the offering of spirits will not be confined to vodka but also will be coming out with berry and coffee liqueur and rum as well. Fair Goji, a goji berry liqueur made with FT sugar from the African nation of Malawi and Fair Café, a coffee liqueur made with FT coffee from Mexico are likely to hit the markets soon for consumers to give spiritual contribution to FT programs.

Jose Roy

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