What proportion of your life do you spend sleeping? Maybe up to one third? It makes good sense then to keep pesticides and other nasties out of your bedroom. In this selection of clean and green nightwear and bedlinen, you'll find many that are made from organic cotton, so no harmful toxins have been used in the production process.
It's tough work being a small-scale cotton farmer. Because rich producers Äì particularly from the EU and the US Äì receive subsidies, their cheap cotton can be dumped on world markets, leading to unstable prices. As a result, small-scale farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America suffer dreadfully, many losing their farms and others even being driven to suicide. But it doesn't have to be that way.
- Fairtrade guarantees a minimum price to cotton farmers. The minimum is set to ensure that it covers the cost of production and provides for a livelihood for the producers.
- On top of that a Fairtrade premium provides project funds for producer-cooperatives. The projects help boost education, health-care and training in their communities.
Fairtrade standards encourage farming techniques that are environmentally sustainable. In traditional cotton growing there is a very heavy use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and flood irrigation, all of which lead to soil degredation, impoverishment of the farmers and a polluted end-product. Instead Fairtrade environmental standards encourage rain-fed cropping, permaculture and organic production.
A little about Asha Handicrafts: Asha Handicrafts provides the security of markets to small scale artisan workshops around India, like ANSA, the soapnut harvesters in Tamil Nadu.
New Internationalist Australia is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, which means we have to stock a percentage of Fair Trade products, and also adhere to Fair Trade practices ourselves. Great for supporting producers rights, and also for our staff.
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