OFTC member Judith Condor-Vidal, Director of Trading for Development is currently in Ecuador. She has just sent in this report.
In his opening speech to the ‘First International Conference on Fair Trade’ in Cuenca, Ecuador, the country’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño pledged the government’s support for promoting Fair Trade. “We need to construct a new system of international trade” he said. “This is a process that leads inexorably to the creation of a new society”.
The gathering in Cuenca brought together some 250 small-scale producers from across Ecuador, plus Fair Trade experts and practitioners from the UK, Canada, France, Belgium, Spain and Germany. Most of those present represented certified Fair Trade operations, producing a wide range of products, including coffee, cocoa, bananas and handicrafts.
The Ecuadorean government has gone further than most in Latin America in promoting Fair Trade. Patiño underlined the importance of building state capacities in assisting what he called the”solidarity economy”, including Fair Trade producers. A former finance minister, he also defended his government’s record in reducing poverty and inequality. He claimed that Ecuador “has every chance of eliminating poverty over the next 15 years”.
(Picture from: http://www.thefullwiki.org/Fair_trade)