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Producers and the fair trade distribution systems: what are the benefits and problems?

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Abstract

Fair Trade presents several benefits to the participating producers and cooperatives, such as higher prices or advance payment. However, the shift from an alternative system of distribution to a mainstreaming strategy focusing on sales and using the conventional distribution structures could have altered certain producer benefits. This case study first aims to investigate an alternative partnership between a Swiss foundation and a Cameroonian cooperative producing and processing fruits, in order to analyse the benefits and problems of such a system from a producer perspective. Then, based on the content analysis of published case studies on cooperatives whose products are sold through mainstream distribution, the second objective is to discuss and compare the types of benefit and problem of Fair Trade according to the system in which producers operate. The article concludes with the complementarities between the two systems. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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