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South Asia Makes A Big Noise To Make Trade Fair

For Immediate Release

South Asia Makes A Big Noise To Make Trade Fair

Sakala Brothers from Zambia perform at the launch of the International Fair Trade Association mark in Mumbai. (Credit Oxfam/Carly Hammond)

Over 1.5 million people in India and 1.2 million people in Bangladesh have protested against the international trade system and are calling on world leaders and governments to make trade fair.

From farmers to factory workers, millions of citizens across South Asia have added their voice to Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign and signed the Big Noise petition. The Make Trade Fair campaign is calling on governments, institutions, and multinational companies to change the international rules so that trade can become part of the solution to poverty, not part of the problem.

At the World Social Forum taking place in Mumbai, India, nearly 6,000 participants have taken a stand and joined the Big Noise to make trade fair. Global trade is one of the key themes emerging at this year's Forum, highlighting the devastating impact unfair trade practices are having on poor countries and the livelihoods of the poor.

“In India, the deaths of the cotton farmers is just one example of how poor farmers in developing countries cannot compete against the subsidised produce of rich countries” said Samar Verma, Oxfam's South Asia Policy Adviser. “The rich world tells the poor world to get rid of subsidies, but continues to spend billions of dollars subsidising its own farmers. Rich countries dump subsidised produce on the world

market, driving down the price of local produce – with terrible effects on the local economy.”

“Discussions at the World Social Forum affirm that national agriculture policies need to do more to address the the needs of the poor. In India, they must facilitate and promote sustainable agriculture and ultimately, a sustainable livelihood for the 650 million people who are dependent on agriculture and currently surviving on less than $1 a day” said Verma.

Also in Mumbai for the World Social Forum, the Zakala Brothers musical duo from Zambia are helping to spread the Make Trade Fair message and are bringing the voices of nearly 1 million Zambians who have signed the Big Noise petition (nearly 10% of Zambia's population). The US cotton industry is ruining the livelihoods of cotton farmers in Zambia and other parts of Africa.

“As an international agency working in over 100 countries, Oxfam is bringing the voices of people to world leaders and governments” said Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International. “The Big Noise petition is an important tool as it reflects the concerns of ordinary people.”

The international community is being urged to add their voice to the Big Noise and help make trade fair, by going to

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Oxfam’s Carly Hammond in Mumbai on +91 98206 24185 or Aditi Kapoor on +91 98103 06200

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