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Cogratulations on a sickening expose
of international injustice and cynical exploitation of impoverished families trying to live a decent life. These conditions world-wide further fuel resentment, anger and bitterness which can only our world. Let's support these poor producers by looking for the Fairly Traded logo - and putting our money into their mouths! This programme was an echo of the power with which Panorama disturbed us weekly for many years. Well done!
I thought this was an excellent programme. It takes real skill to put across such complex and accessible issues in an entertaining but non-simplistic way. It's a shame that the chef had to make his comment about the Americans, but in every other respect I thought the programme hit the nail on the head. The point is that free trade needs to be truly free in order to work for the poor, not distorted by subsidies, convenient but unnecessary health regulations and machiavellian re-naming of products. Of course poor countries have to help themselves, but the least rich countries can do is to stop making their situation worse. Britain grew rich through trade. We should not be pulling the drawbridge after us.
This was a blatantly political, american bashing programme and who cares what Anthony Worrall Thompson thinks. In fact who is he? I can't afford to buy products of dubious quality just to satisfy a few liberals do-gooders and I can guarantee that Worrall Thompson wouldn't use them in a restaurant that was a commercial concern. If you don't like Americans then nobody is forcing you to buy their products - I don't. And don't forget, if they stopped their massive aid programme then an awful lot of people would starve.
My feeling is that we should be redressing the agricultural subsidy imbalance. If we can subsdise third world agriculture sufficiently to enable them to be feed their own people then we could stop the iniquitous supply of food from the West. What organisation exists that is based on this premise?
I noticed you didn't mention Traidcraft, which is the UK's largest Fairtrade organisation. It sells a wide range of fairly trased foods, much wider than is available in the supermarkets, fairly traded wines, cards, crafts and clothing.
After watching this programme I couldnt belive that Anthony Worrall Thompson used it to portray the Kenyan sugar as top quality, as it wasnt coloured like UK sugar. Being a chef I thought he would know about food. British brown sugar is not darker because of added colours, but it is due to the amount of molasses left in after refining.
If these countries want fair trade and to get rid of subsidies fair enough. Then they should also have to comply to the rigourous environmental and crop production standards that UK farmers have to adhere to. Whilst producers in the UK have to comply with supermarkets strict growing policies in order to supply them, do farmers in other countries have to be audited to the same standard in order to supply supermarkets here? Do the farmers in the countries featured have to adhere to EU environmental poilcies or pay their workers a minimum wage?
I was very upset about this situation in Ghana. I think the rich countries have to cut down the subsidies, it will help the poorest countries to grown by themselves. The aid is just a cover for hiding this problem. The only way to solve it, is the really fair trade, without any wrong mechanism of globalization. So the rich countries have to realize, that they are stronger than the poorest, and have to help them.
I enjoyed the programme but feel that reference to the organisations that are providing Fair trade would have been appropriate. The logo associated with Fair traded products could have been highlighted. I felt that all the programme did was raise the issues and then leave us in mid-air. Perhaps a sequel at some time in the not too distant future could look at it again.
Having worked extensively with the African sugar trade over the past decade, I fear that your comments on Kenyan sugar were misplaced and simplistic. Whilst I abhor EU subsidies, the Kenyan sugar situation is due to their own inefficiencies which is why they were unable to compete against sugar growers from Brazil, Guatemala and Mexico until the government slapped a 100% tarrif on sugar from those origins a couple of years ago, and which is why they are still unable to compete against their fellow African producers such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, despite the natural advantages that any local producer should have but which Kenyan producers cannot seem to exploit in their home country. Why should exporting countries be penalised for sorting out their own inefficiencies whilst those who can't or won't confront their own poor management and inefficiencies continue to fall back on the usual suspects for blame such as EU, US or the world financial system in general.
Thank you for an easy to understand documentry on a complex and important issue. If only more people were made aware of these problems than I am sure many would be presuaded to buy fair trade products. Organic products are now available all over the place; but fair trade tea, coffee and chocolate have to be hunted for. And I have never seen fairtrade sugar, tomatoes or fish for sale anywhere. While I say well done to the co-op who last year declared that all their own brand chocolate would be fairtrade, its not enough. More of the bigger companies need to make a stand.
What an eye-opening programme. I would prefer to pay extra for rice, veg etc knowing that it was being closely monitored as Fair Trade than put money in a collection box not knowing whether it reaches its destination. This is an important issue for the government to be pursuing - the USA leaves a lot to be desired as well as the EU. Excellent programme.
Viewers interested in events following the section on Kenyan sugar cane may wiish to monitor the web editions of the East African Standard and Daily Nation where the consequences of the sugar company lowering the price of cane cane be viewed. The cane price reduction will be announced Tuesday 11th March and the new price prevails from Thursday 13th. The Mumias mill has been operating at a loss for three months.
Congratulations on a very informative programme. ( I do not think my licence money was wasted!). If more of us were more aware of people who do not have access to our standard of living, things might change. Interesting email comments from some people, particularly the pro American ones. Perhaps those folk might like to live and work on the sugar plantation at Kisumu in Kenya.
I thought the free trade programme was appalling. An interviewer travelling the world and talking to the poorest people on earth under the pretext of buying their produce. Antony Worrall Thompson's colonial attitude to the little chappies growing "wonderful food", cooking a meal that few of them will eat in their lifetime.Does he buy free trade food for his restaurants? Get real, don't waste money on such programmes. Don't dress up such a serious matter in such an extravagant manner.
The concept of absolute globalisation in trade is a fallacy. This is especially so when dealing with consumable produce and the like. That said how many of the people who have posted comments have been to these regions and witnessed what really goes on? I don't mean for five-minute holidays, I mean living and working in these places. The people at the bottom of the pile collect the rap for corrupt governance and corrupt indigenous business.
I can tell of many examples, such as bags of sugar labelled "US aid - not for resale" on the shelves of grocery stores in a notable north African country in which I lived and worked for a number of years. Whilst the West has much responsibility to bear, there is also the wealthy indigenous industry in the countries covered who have pursued a once lucrative export business completely at the expense of home trade and destroying the home trade in the process. The factories may now be rotting but the principals of such businesses are still OK. It's not all down to us nasty westerners, you know.
Interesting programme. I thought GAT (General Agreement on Trade between countries was meant to prevent governents subsiding their own industries. It realy shows that this open market can never make trading between the poor and rich fair especially with multi-nationals exercising their mursle on what goods wlll be brought and sold. I am concerned that GATS which extends free trade for services will produce the same problems.
I hope the leaders of our major supermarkets were watching tonight's panorama and there is some among them with a conscience.I will myself be looking for the the fair trade label in my local supermarket from now on.
Thank you for such an amazing and informative panorama discussing honestly issues every one would rather keep quiet. And in the middle of fairtrade fortnight too! It challenged me and I'm already actively involved in trade justice campaigning, and I think many other people who might never have even give such issues a second thought will have been challenged too. Well done! keep it up
Should we really be buying tomatoes (and other produce that we can grow at home) from half-way around the globe? Think of the pollution caused by the transportation across thousands of miles. I had to laugh last summer when I was harvesting French beans from my garden and the local supermarket was still importing them from Africa. Stop this globalisation now - for the sake of the planet.
That said, I also agree that the West should not export their excess produce to poorer countries. Let them be self-sufficient - growing what they need to eat, instead of cash crops for export. I always buy "Fair Trade" coffee and would like to see much more fair trade produce, including British produce as British farmers are going to the wall. The supermarkets are too powerful and are relentless in their quest for market share by reducing prices, so end up squeezing the farmer.
How can a programme about ordinary people trying to live while we have time to play on the internet be misconstrued as anti-American. We in the EU also took a battering. The fact is that we live very comfortably and are able to completely disregard the fact that millions of people around the world live in poverty through no fault of their own. Why are we so afraid of genuine fair trade? I vaguely remember a slogan from the 70's - food for people not for profit. Surely not such a bad idea.
What an excellent show, it has put a face to the fair trade issue I have been learning about in A-Level Business. Whenever I am next shopping I will be looking out for fair trade products.
Thank you for an excellent programme highlighting the gross inequalities in world trade in an innovative and interesting way. The topic is specifically relevant in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight. The point about the catfish was surely that if it came from Vietnam it could not be considered catfish - as if to say that only if it was farmed in USA could it possible qualify for the name. There will never be easy answers to these issues but the more we are made aware of what is going on the more chance there is of bringing about change. Someone asked about fairly traded products - look out for the Fairtrade mark on products such as chocolate, coffee, tea, orange juice, wine, biscuits, cocoa, bananas, mango and pineapples. Most major supermarkets stock some Fairtrade products but presently the Co-op seems to be doing most.
A thought provoking programme that raised issues sincerely but with little depth. It was a snapshot of how things are rather than a detail of the situation. In terms of sentiment I agree with the gist of the programme, but feel that it was less than fully informing.
Our focus on cheap food at any price leads to the degradation of so many, and the continuation of protectionist policies by Western governments. We really need to exercise our consciences when we shop - our cheap food leads, almost inevitably, to continuing and worsening poverty in countries that have no other options than to sell to us greedy people in the West.
An excellent programme and I fully support Anthony Worrall Thompson in his remarks about the USA. It was a political programme in many ways, not a cookery programme.
I wish there were more 'fair trade' products available and more help for the Third World farmers and other workers. It should also be said that many large companies are making huge profits from using workers who are paid a pittance whilst their products are sold for an extortionate price in the West.
This programme was great. It highlighted all the fair trade problems which result in poor farmers struggling to feed their own families while rich countries exclude foreign produce. The fact that foreign canned tomatoes can be bought more cheaply then local produce in a country overflowing with fresh tomatoes is obscene and its time we in the west were made aware of it. There was no need to involve the US in this programme as it serves to fuel anti US sentiment at the moment. There is more than enough evidence of trade hurting the countries we all need to help without looking to the US.
More of this type of programme is needed to make us aware of how our spending impacts on the day to day living of people who are born into the third world.
I looked forward to this programme which I thought would highlight the discrepancies between food production and consumption. The documentary footage was fairly enlightening - not very much was new information - but the cookery sections were excruciating. My family sat with growing embarrassment watching the designer camera shots with their bad lighting and shots through olive oil bottles and coriander leaves. The cookery elements were appalling - did the recipes have anything to do with the programme? Not up to the standard I have come to expect from either the BBC or Comic Relief.
We need a truly high profile focus for FAIRTRADE in London. How about some of the celebs and comics who support FAIRTRADE creating a restaurant and/or food hall in the capital to showcase FAIRTRADE produce. It was an excellent programme, well done BBC.
As a UK farmer, I can fully sympathise with the situation of unfair prices faced by some third world producers. Most agricultural commodities are at or below the cost of production in the UK too. Why? I am a young farmer starting out in the industry, but already I have developed a highly cynical view of the supermarkets. They have such a huge power over primary producers, not only here in the UK, but world wide as demonstrated on tonight¿s programme. I am not as naive as to believe they are solely responsible, but their margins take precedence over the interests of their suppliers.
Bravo. You should remind us all of the unlevel playing field 20 times a day. There will be no peace in this world until there is a decent measure of justice in trade. Sonja Brady's comment is of course nonsense; once a large powerful state has bent the rules, the smaller state is in a lose/lose situation. It's the US who wants it 'both ways'.
Things haven't really changed much in essence since the days of colonialism. Only the tools used are different; WTO, World Bank, IMF. Those are the true weapons of mass destruction that Bush and Blair ought to be dismantling if there is ever to be peace on this planet!
I fully support the 'Free Trade' cause and would like to support it on a regular basis, not just once every 2 years via 'Comic Relief'. Where can I buy 'Free Trade' products and can you please give me product names/company names who support Free Trade so I can buy these products in preference to non- Free Trade products. Thanks and keep up the good work Comic Relief.
What a great programme tonight. I have bought Fair Trade products in the past, but will now try to buy more, and buy them more often.
Extremely interesting, as Ben Elton put it, they are our brothers and sisters out there, and we should be helping them. It's difficult for us to think of living on $1 a day like these farmers families are trying to. However we can at least buy fairly traded products, our governments subsidise our farmers, their governments can't afford to, I hope this will encourage us to help out. More programmes like this would be wonderful.
Sajid Qazi, England, University of Warwick.
I thought that this programme was a brilliant idea, and the recipes by the chef very imaginative. It was a shame, however, that the chef took the opportunity to air his political views so blatantly.
A very "upsetting" eye opener to individuals like myself who have only just realised in full that the developed world has turned the screw at every level in the developing countries.
Great programme it should have been shown earlier to younger viewers as well
Delighted to see this programme. It is difficult to access a wide range of fairly traded goods in this country and people need to see the impact of unfair trade on real people to understand the importance of fair trade.
The best programme I have seen in a very long time. Really brought home the fact that essentially our affluent lifestyle in the West is, to some degree, bought and paid for by some of the poorest people in the world. We have cheap coffee and sugar, but this can mean starvation for them. A very well-made programme, and an excellent idea for bringing this grave injustice across. Now what do we do about it?
A thought provoking programme. Like many people, I assumed that third world food products were not marketed here in their own right because they were not of a sufficiently 'high' standard. I now realise that it is because they are being kept out by vested interests in the US and Europe. It's ironic that while shoppers are happy to pay a premium price for 'natural' tasting foods, that third world produce is kept out. From now on I shall look for 'fair trade' products in the supermarket.
Congratulations on raising so many important issues, and actually linking them - very effectively - to the popularity of 'celebrity chef' programming. What a shame such a thoughtful programme only hits our screens relatively late on a Sunday evening - surely we could bear to bring them closer to prime time in this of all weeks? And, of course, the link between terrorism and inequality is so topical as to worth some consideration.
To encourage the sale in the UK of 'Fair Trade' products - can someone provide a handy list one could take around the shops? The only labelled goods we see are various coffees - surely there must be more.
Well done. Congratulations. Very brave and poignant. Let's have real food for real people.
Steve Bradshaw's report tonight showed what a great disadvantage we are putting many farmers from poorer regions of the world in. They are relying on fair prices for what they are growing and providing only to be what amounts to be underpriced for what they are producing. This is all fresh food, grown by people that only want a fair standard of living. The food is the only thing they are rich in, and the west should pay a good honest, and fair price for the food they are producing and we are receiving. As we are now entering Comic Relief week, our government and other western governments should be with great efforts doing something to alter this serious situation for the poorer regions of the world. This action is seriously required now, we have the money, time now to pay fair prices for what we receive from these countries.
TW Franke, UK
I find it deplorable that the pressure on manufacturers means that the cheapest goes. Ethical audits are performed by Supermarkets but they cannot possibly ask the right questions. I know for a fact that ingredients are sourced at the cheapest price regardless of fair trade
What a waste of air time and licence payer's money. With all the problems going on in the world at the moment Panorama chooses look for another one, which isn't really there. After 20 minutes the final straw was listening to the Haitian who couldn't support his extended family of twenty because his own government chose to allow America to feed the rest of the country, at a subsidised rate it needs to be said. Furthermore, it may be popular in some circles to criticise the Americans at the moment but I don't think that Antony Worrall Thompson should be given air time to express his own political opinions.
If you're right and a Government shouldn't interfere with free trade (my inference from your report on the catfish problem), then why is the Haitian Government wrong not to interfere with it's countrymen's right to import cheaper rice? You can't have it both ways. I've watched just part of the programme before feeling heartily sick at my licence fee paying for this anti-American propaganda to be aired.
As for Anthony W-T crushing his pestle and mortar whilst "thinking of the Americans", well I'm truly disgusted.
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