Preda Fair Trade overcoming poverty

28th June 2018 - by Ellen Teague

Fr shey-cullen
Fr. Shay Cullen speaking at the 2010 annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network

In the Columban bags to be given out at this Saturday’s Columban Centenary Mass in Southwark Cathedral will be packets of dried mangoes, a Preda Fair Trade product.


They have been provided free of charge by Forest Feast, a company in Northern Ireland committed to responsible sourcing. Here, the founder of Preda Fair Trade in the Philippines, Columban Father Shay Cullen, talks about the role of fair trade in overcoming poverty.

Juan and Maria de la Costa are a poor farmer couple living with three children in the mountains of Zambales, 140 kilometres north of Manila. They have lived in poverty, making a living from planting vegetables, collecting honey and gathering mango fruits to sell in the market many kilometres away. Like millions of impoverished indigenous people they are subsistence farmers, surviving on what they can grow on spare public lands they don’t own.

Juan knows nothing of the causes of his poverty. He only knows that the traders in the towns will only give him four or five pesos a kilo for his Pico mangos and he knows they are worth three times that amount. But if he does not sell them for the low price they will quickly rot in the hot tropical climate. It’s not worth his hard work and long walk into the town with a heavy sack of mangos. So, much fruit has been left on the ground. Greed and injustice and the total lack of government help is behind his hardship. His children will remain poor and uneducated.

At least that is how it was until Preda Fair Trade came to his village and offered to buy his mangos at three times what the traders were paying. 

Fair Trade is the movement that brings economic justice and livelihood with dignity to hundreds of thousands of poor people around the world. Preda Fair Trade is a leader in the movement since 1980. The good people of conscience who want to live out values and principles and put them into practice in meaningful practical ways turn to buying Preda Fair Trade dried mangoes in UK super markets. They who believe in reaching out and helping the people who need help most will buy fair trade products like Preda Dried Mangoes. These are distributed in the UK by Forest Feast brands, available in most supermarkets.  They act on their Christian conscience and want to support through fair trade the people in the developing world who work hard to help themselves and their family. That’s why the customers buy the products and they support Fair Trade. But they also appreciate the high quality of the products. 

Trying to alleviate poverty keeps children in their villages going to school and away from human traffickers. I have been actively helping many poor farmers through paying higher fair prices for their mango fruits. The project helps small farmers, indigenous people, and artisans who meet the criteria of Fair Trade and fairly-produced products. The benefits and earnings return to help the producers and farmers and a percen​_tage goes to help abused children get shelter, therapy, justice, and care.   

Some of those earnings also go to protect and improve the environment by tree planting and helping children who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and abuse. Preda Fair Trade and our partners and supporters oppose the trade in human persons and help survivors.  

Preda dried mangoes are fairly produced, chemical free with no additives, and naturally sweet and low sugar if so desired. The people are not exploited and the benefits are for the small farmers and victims of exploitation. The customers are partners with us in helping the poor to be poor no more.

Fair Trade is one of the best ways to help people overcome injustice, oppression, and poverty and to have a life of dignity.  We all ought to make that extra effort to use our spending power to help others as we go to the grocery and buy Fairly Traded quality products. They might cost a bit more but fair-minded customers consider that fair wages and benefits are paid and they don’t want to eat food that causes hardship and injustice to others.  

The one thing the wise educated shopper does not want is to use their buying power and choice to enrich the already super rich who control the multinational food corporations. In fact there are so many good people buying Fair Trade products that help the poor get out of poverty that the multinational corporations are posing as fair trade companies. It is a billion pound business in the UK alone. These unethical companies poise as Fair Trade practitioners but they have only a few products fairly traded just for show. Most of their other products are not certified Fair Trade products and so, for sure, there is some unfairness and exploitation in the rest of their products. So, the wise and wary consumers keep away from the fakes and frauds. They look for and find the products that are tested and true Fair Trade products.

The Fair Trade shops are the really genuine providers of all strictly fairly trade products so that’s where the smart consumers go.  Then of course there are thousands of customers with a heart and belief in justice and what is right who know the best Fair Trade brands and they look for them in super markets and on the internet.
So consumers who want to be one with the poor and oppressed and help them rise out of hunger and hardship buy fair trade products.