Alternative production and consumption relations?: fair trade, the state, and cooperatives in the global South

Michelle Williams
2013 Journal of Contemporary African Studies  
In this paper I explore the relation between the fair trade market in the North and producer cooperatives in the South. I specifically focus on three agricultural cooperatives in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Africa to look at the role of the fair trade market and the state in promoting cooperative trade. Fair trade has gained considerable popularity among Northern consumers in the last decade. For many consumers, the assumption is that buying fair trade ensures producers in the South receive a
more » ... the South receive a fair price for their goods. In general this assumption holds true. However, fair trade is much more complex than simply offering fair prices to producers. Does fair trade constitute an alternative trading system or is it an attempt to constitute fairer conditions within the current system? What is the role of the state? What is the role of the market? These are the central questions explored in this paper.
doi:10.1080/02589001.2012.752958 fatcat:g5vkpzbvqvatbo4cxu6lkzs72m