The Fairtrade movement developed in the 1980s, following the collapse of international agreements that had regulated the prices of many commodities, such as tea, coffee and cocoa. These agreements had maintained wholesale prices at a high level by restricting world production. Farmers benefited from these prices, while industry and consumers benefited from a stable trade environment.
Since the collapse of these agreements, prices of commodities have often fallen.
Image: This man is carrying a heavy load of brick tea. Each of the baskets contains four bricks of tightly packed black tea.
Fair trade involves the voluntary purchase by consumers of products, usually more expensive, which guarantee higher payments to producers. Fair trade schemes also invest in community schems such as schools.
The FAIRTRADE mark is the guarantee of a true fair trade product. A wide range of products is available, including tea from India.