Hard times and worse horrors

Castries Harbour, St Lucia, whence Fair Trade bananas and cocoa are exported

Small businesses are under the cosh in the UK. Our markets are very difficult. People don’t want to buy even when we can help them save money. I don’t sell answers which are not worth a lot more than they cost, but prospective clients still take a lot of convincing.

All of Europe is struggling in business. Germany is the strongest, but needs its markets, and the uncertainty of the fate of the Euro is hampering ambition. We are told that countries such as India are booming and riding the crest of the wave. Those in the Cities are apparently doing well, yet we are told that the poor in especially those in rural areas are being abandoned, even being prevented from using agricultural machinery.   No, I don’t understand it

Sky News ran this report about the bottom having dropped out of the cotton market, leading to the ruin of Indian cotton farmers. It is really harrowing and puts in perspective our own troubles. Of course if growing cotton is not making any money, we would say in our Western way that they should grow something else, because if something we have always done isn’t working, we should change our ways. I don’t have the knowledge as to whether these farmers could grow something else such as maize or sweet potatoes, but it would need new finance and education which the Indian farmers can’t get.

If something isn’t working, it needs changing. It needs a new approach to business. We in the West have the capacity to change because we have the technology to do the research and we can easily find out, if we don’t know, the right people to help. That’s what we have to do.

None of us has all the answers, especially when it comes to business and agriculture in another land. Let us change our businesses to do what we need to make more money, and let us see how we can help subsistence farmers like those in India by donating to appropriate charities and buying Fair Trade products.

We can help, even if in a small way, even just by changing our shopping habits.  Don’t you agree we really must make the effort to help?

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