We venture to explore the key advantages of buying fair trade sugar. But before doing so, we need to briefly acquaint ourselves with the said fair trade sugar, which is also referred to as fair trade organic sugar in some circles. And that is where we come to learn that this is simply sugar which is made out of sugarcane grown organically, and in adherence to fair trade practices. Fair trade practices are mainly aimed at improving the lot of sugarcane farmers, who for long have tended to be an impoverished lot – notwithstanding the importance of the product they cultivate. Fair trade sugar is also typically grown in sustainable ways, that is, with minimum environmental degradation. Therefore, for any sugar package to be certified as being ‘fair trade sugar’ it has to fulfill those three requirements namely:
It must have been milled from sugarcane whose farmers were fairly compensated for their (sugar farming) effort.
It must have been milled from sugarcane which was grown organically.
It must have been milled from sugarcane which was grown in a sustainable manner (with minimum environmental degradation).
And some of the key advantages of buying such fair trade sugar would include the facts that:
1. Fair trade sugar is healthier: this is mainly due to the fact we mentioned earlier, that fair trade sugar is milled from sugarcane which is actually grown in adherence to ‘organic’ practices. That makes it healthier. It is better than sugar milled from sugarcane that was grown with the help of all manner of chemicals. You have to keep it in mind that the plants grown using such chemicals tend to absorb them, and traces of the (often greatly harmful) chemicals are to be found even in milled products of such plants. Thus to the extent that it is milled from sugarcane whose farmers don’t use chemicals such as pesticides and inorganic fertilizers extensively, fair trade sugar is healthy. It is organic sugar.
2. Buying fair trade sugar helps in improving farmers’ lot: gone are the days when all we used to care about were the products, without actually bothering to think about the human cost of producing those products. Nowadays, most of us want to know something about the origin of the products we use, especially with respect to the conditions they were produced under, and the welfare of the people who produced them. If you too entertain such cares, you should take to buying fair trade sugar, whose millers at least offer some sort of assurance about the welfare of the farmers whose sugarcane they mill to come up with the sugar.
3. Buying fair trade sugar helps in conserving the environment: as mentioned earlier, for sugar to qualify for the ‘fair trade’ label, it has to have been milled from sugarcane grown with minimal environmental disruption. Thus, for instance, sugar milled out sugarcane grown in plots whose acquisition meant excising valuable rainforests or natural waterways doesn’t qualify for the ‘fair trade sugar’ label. This means that by buying fair trade sugar, you help – in your own small way – to conserve the environment at a global level.