Center for Fair & Alternative Trade

Colorado State University

“Fair Trade and Community Empowerment: Impacts in the Sugar and Tea Sectors of Southern Malawi”

Presented by David Phillips, Newcastle University, UK

Seminar - David Phillips

David Phillips, PhD Student and Visiting Scholar to CFAT from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, presented “Fair Trade and Community Empowerment: Impacts in the Sugar and Tea Sectors of Southern Malawi.”

Mr. Phillips is an experienced professional completing his PhD under the direction of Senior Lecturer in Geography, Alex Hughes. His research is based on collaboration between Newcastle University and the UK alternative trade organization Traidcraft.  His presentation, as well as his residence at CFAT as a visiting scholar, was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  

His presentation examined recent Fair Trade interventions to address perceived inequalities in trade relations in the sugar and tea sectors and contribute towards development by empowering producer communities in Southern Malawi. Fair trade aims to affect change in trade and community relations by acting as an agent of empowerment in order to assist small scale producers and their communities in developing countries. The approach places faith in concepts such as increased co-ordination, greater participation, and capacity building efforts to empower producers and develop their communities.
Mr. Phillips presented his initial assessment of both intended and unexpected impacts of the empowering aims of fair trade. He also discussed some of the key factors that appear to be inhibiting fair trade in its aims.
David Phillips’ work will be of particular interest to those studying fair and alternative trade, tropical commodities, development issues in Africa, and rural community empowerment.