ADVOCATES have called on consumers to only patronize fair trade products to ensure that what they consume is "justly" produced.

Fair trade, as defined by the Advocate of Philippine Fair Trade Inc. (APFTI), is an organized social movement and market-based approach to empowering producers and promoting sustainability.

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An alternative trade and business model, fair trade encourages enterprises, particularly the small community-based ventures, to observe socially and environmentally just practices and to act as an active agent in improving the quality of life of their community.

Geraldine M. Labradores, World Fair Trade Organization-Philippines chair, said that if everyone patronizes fair trade products, the companies which are not adopting the fair trade standards will become conscious about helping the community and the country to grow.

"The most important part of fair trade is the standards," she said.

She reiterated that standards or principles being adopted in fair trade are very crucial as these guide the producers on the proper and honest way of doing business.

The standards include the creation of opportunities for disadvantaged producers, capacity-building of producers and their workers, promotion of gender equity, payment of a fair price and fair wages, provision of safe and healthy working conditions, no child labor, protection of the environment, fair trade relations, and presence of accountability and transparency.

Meanwhile, Department of Trade and Industry-Davao City Field Office (DTI-DCFO) director Teolulo T. Pasawa said that the office is grateful of the increasing number of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) joining various trade fairs.

"Although, we don't have the exact number of entrepreneurs, we can confidently say that the number is growing, based on our company visits and those who signed the manifesto stating their commitment to be part of the Davao Fair Trade Network. We also have to take note of the increasing awareness towards buying fair trade products. One of which is the organic food," he said.

The Davao Fair Trade Network is a group of advocates that rally for the promotion of fair trade products.