Accepted paper:

Fair enough? Who benefits and how from fair trade in Ethiopia and Uganda?


Carlos Oya (SOAS, Uni)
Christopher Cramer (SOAS)

Paper short abstract:

Using original data from surveys among workers and companies in Uganda and Ethiopia, we analyze how Fair Trade certification of exporter-producer companies affects employment conditions in coffee, tea and flower sectors.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explains the rationale behind a research project on Fair Trade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda; briefly summarises the methodology; and introduces initial findings from two rounds of a large quantitative survey and from more than 100 detailed working life biographies of rural wage workers. The authors argue that neither the champions of Fair Trade nor its most vocal detractors have shown much understanding of the mechanisms and distributional implications of certified coffee (Ethiopia and Uganda), flower (Ethiopia) and tea (Uganda) production and trade. The paper shows how some of these mechanisms operate and what their distributional outcomes are, while also arguing that it is impossible to understand Fair Trade, or the cooperatives through which it often works, without embedding the analysis in the wider political economy of local and national contexts.

panel P050
Agricultural export production, wage employment and certification schemes