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The Bitter Aftertaste


The Bitter Aftertaste casts huge doubts on the capacity of chocoholics and shopaholics to transform the lives of farmers in the developing world through their super market trolleys. Shot in Ghana and the UK, this hard hitting documentary is sure to stir more than coffee and leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who espouse Fair Trade as a mechanism for development. The film asks the questions often thought but never asked, does Fair Trade really change anything or just make Western consumers feel good? A must see for everyone who believes the developing world deserves better. This short documentary is also available on DVD from the WORLDwrite shop.

Related topics: Economy, Global

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brazil people said:

There’s certainly a great deal to know about
this subject. I like all of the points you made.

Rezwana said:

The video portrayed a very powerful insight on the negative aspects of ‘Fairtrade’ that are not necessarily taken into account by the general public.
As the film showed that”Fairtrade provides an equal money back to their producers”.this dosent mean the producers standard of living is improving greatly.
For example in 2005 Fairtrade said that’$50m went back to the producers’ however due to there being many producers, each individual only recieved $0.18p.
I believe this is unacceptable as they are working harder than us UK citizens but recieving a very little amount and not as Fairtrade claims receiving fair pay.

funmi said:

Watching this short documentary I got to see a different side to Fairtrade- the company that makes people think that their money is helping to develop countries. I insight on how people who live in a third world country, try to survive while being stuck with a contract that they believed will give themselves and their families a better life. Fairtrade only allows themselves and people in the West feel better about themselves by buying ‘Fairtrade’ products. I feel naïve thinking that Fairtrade helped increase farmers’ incomes or build their economy. I found this film shocking and a huge wake up call. I’m glad the film revealed the truth.

Bethlehem said:

The video is very detailed with information and researched well. From the video I am able to see that the label Fairtrade did not fulfill all its promises. Farmers do not need more rules and regulations placing restrictions on them, instead what they do need is for the economy to grow therefore allowing them to have the freedom to let their business expand.

Marina said:

Well presented documentary, It is disappointing to know that Fair Trade is not helping the farmers as much as I thought.

Shy said:

The rise in popularity of Fairtrade products is because it’s seen as “trendy” and a popular celebrity lifestyle choice. Calling Fairtrade responsible consumerism is laughable. Most people don’t bother looking past the pretty packaging and (usually) false reassurances of labels like “Fairtrade” and “Free Range”. I mean, have you ever checked into the company that sells eggs to check whether their definition of free range is to ram pack as many chickens as possible into a barn instead of a battery farm barn?

ed said:

Very strong doc. Well produced and dynamic. I think the way in which Fairtrade is a conduit for our sense of benevolence in a Capitalist cocoon is not realised. Those who like fairness are conned into believing this is the way to ensure it; it so is not.

suzanne bull said:

An excellent documentary. Very well delivered and researched. Isn’t it amazing how so many Fairtrade employees know how a third world country fuctions and should produce it resources. This film enables us to evoke the challange that perhaps Fairtrade should employ Ghana farmers to Chair and to oversee all farming in their land.

If Fairtrade were to listen to the farmers then perhaps they would introduce the technology needed and allow for decent developments not only within their own product organisation but also allow for the things they take for granted such as electricity, education and most impotantly wages.

Leigh Matthews said:

This is a compelling documentary that brings light to a deep and neglected issue surrounding consumerism, greed, exploitation and manipulation.
This evokes an array of emotions and is creatively edited…..these kinds of exposing and informative films should be as visible as chocolate is to modern society.

mels said:

Fairtrade contributes to sustainable development for marginalised producers, workers and their communities. what we need is raising public awareness of the need for Fairtrade and the importance of the FAIRTRADE Mark

Celinie said:

Very interesting documentary showing not only the benefits of the fair trade but also the conflicts that it brings. Fair trade should not only being seen as a help for the Third Countries but where both parties-producers & consumers-can get their own benefits, of course still a long step to do.

Amirah Khan said:

A well-put together documentary. Consumers subconsciously assume that buying products labelled as ‘Fair Trade’ will automatically help third world countries. It’s good how this documentary actually questions whether this is really the case.

Andrew Maragh said:

Fair Trade offers third world countries help. This video shows however that Fair Trade is a profitable business which in helping third world countries they are actually just helping themselves. Even though this video is one sided it does raise many debatable questions. At the end of the day, the issue raised in this video presents an idea that this is a capitalist society and in this kind of society they will always be inequality. However I still feel that Fair Trade isn’t totally a negative organisation because they still offer help to the poorer third world countries and isn’t that all that matters in helping the poor.

Andrew said:

I believe this video draws a debate on quite a complex and sensitive issue. I’m always for helping the poorer third world countries and this is whats quite sad about this issue. I felt this video gave a message that the Fair Trade organisations offer for helping third world countries are actually just another way to help themselves. Even though this video is one-sided, the are some major in-depth points which one cannot ignore. Fair Trade is basically a profitable business from developing countries. This video presents another harsh reality of the world we live in, that this is a capitalist society, the kind of society I don’t agree with because they will always be inequality.

Yaya Yosof said:


G. Dixon said:

I remain sceptic on the issue of Fair Trade, I think it’s still a concept that only suits the mega retailers in Europe.
As mentioned in the film, it’s simply a label, that softens the conscience of the consumers. Exploitation by trickery…

When I see the lives of the people producing those goods improving on a large scale, by becoming share holders in some of these companies…then maybe, I’ll change my views.

Sammi said:

Such a complex subject. I enjoyed the piece and have been reminded of my general scepticism about the food industry. When I hear people in the west talk about solutions for developing countries I am always cynical, wondering about what the people in those countries have to say themselves on the subject – it was very interesting to hear those people giving a little of their views. I did feel the documentary had an agenda though and as such failed to facilitate the viewer in an opportunity to draw their own conclusions freely from a balanced piece of reporting.

Philippa said:

Although the tone of this report is somewat accusatory which is unhelpful to balance, we should all be watching this report and using our own minds which too few of us can say that we do. It is too tempting to feel good about your purchasing patterns by simply buying a certain label and while I am still considering the arguments and benefits, I’m all too aware of my responsibility to think harder and learn more about what effect my spend has.

Jean-Luc said:

It is correct to say that Fairtrade will not redress the inequalities of capitalism, however I think this film feels deeply one-sided. It speaks for the farmers only introducing them to as soundbites to talk about their tools or wages. Was the questions of what the farmers thought of fair trade ever directly asked? An answer from a farmer on that would have been interesting. Farmers took up less time in this film than an interviewee from the notorious right wing think tank The Adam Smith Institute (who made the ridiculous unqualified statements “The Fairtrade Foundation hates Brazil”) I’m not convinced that economic growth should always be linked to development, that seems to be a capitalist solution to a capitalist problem. I would love to see more debate around Fairtrade but I feel this film undermined its own argument by coming across as a one sided critique. I’m sure Ghanian farmers have solutions, maybe this film could have asked the farmers?

Rayhman Jefferies said:

This is just such a shame. I spent a major portion of my li fe fighting against discrimination such as this. Fair trade for whom? I’ve never agreed with it, and I most certainly am against further such imprisonment, neo-colonialism, the purveyors of Fair Trade espouse. This film makes me sad that we cannot offer parents in the third world anything better for their children but more of the same, a continuing colonialist cycle of poverty and oppression.

Louise said:

I was optimistic when I first saw the topic of the video but after having watched it i am very disappointed by the reality of Fair Trade organisations efforts to support developing countries to actually be able to support themselves.
I agree with some of the comments by the commentator that Fair trade is like a business profiting from the labour of the developing world. I think that it is unfair that consumers are made to believe that Fair Trade is a progressive method for the developing world when it is not. I think that this video has highlighted the need to do our research on organisation before forming an opinion.
Fair Trade in dehumanise people by paying them wages that continue to have them live day by day in a hope for a better life for their families.
Alex Singleton: stresses some very good points about the need to improve farmers living standards through mechanistic resources and increased pay, so farmers in the developing world may also enjoy the benefits of their work such as the develop world does. I am aware that the full benefit will not be received but when the basic living and social standard are still far for being met you begin to question the integrity of the Fair Trade organisation. Mr Singleton sums up the Fair Trades intentions as being romanised and idealistic in thought. Many of the supporters of Fair Trade make the assumption that working longer hours, day after day, doing back breaking work for a few extra ‘PENCE’ is something to be pleased about. Most people would agree that if they were in the say position as these farmers shown in the video they would not be satisfied especially seeing how the western world benefits from such a trade. This is not progress but shows us that more needs to be done so i will not stop supporting Fair trade but encourage better methods to actually make these farmers working lives easier.

tsitsi said:

Obviously fair doesn’t mean equal. What it does mean is what someone in the west has decided what people in developing countries should earn – Just enough to feed and clothe themselves so that they can arrive back in the field the next day to make more money for western businesses. It reminds me of the whole NGO set-up that creates jobs for westerners in exotic locations or managing in the comfort of their own countries, but don’t effect any real change, otherwise most of them should have been out of business by now. Yes I did say business, because that’s largely what they are. The westerners being interviewed are running businesses that I’m sure they live quite nicely off. What I found particularly offensive is how an English lady was asked if the Ghananian farmers enjoyed their jobs, and she spoke for them.! One of the biggest problems Africans have in our day to day lives, is that we don’t have a voice because nobody wants to hear it. If films like these want to be taken seriously by us and have a real impact, they need to hand the microphone over and stop talking about us as if we’re some curiosity out of the zoo from venus! It was a good documentary to get the debate going and raise the real issues behind initiatives such as these.

Randolph Ferry said:

This film is prophetic. Look at all the ethical shopping rubbish around today.

Hamza said:

The no tion that we are can change the world through what we buy is deeply flawed one as the film shows. We are not equal as consumers and I do not want to see a world where someone across the other side of the world can determine what and if development happens somewhere else. It is anti-democractic to say t he least.

Rubina said:

This is the only film I know of that critiques fair trade as fair trade seems to have become one of those things that is beyond criticism. It shouldn’t be, as this shows it stipulates how and what farmers can develop leaving them dirt poor. Don’t buy it!