In 2010, the richest 388 people in the world had the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people – roughly half the world’s population. The most recent data estimates that it now takes just 62 billionaires to equal the wealth of the poorest half of the world.
It’s clear that the gap between rich and poor continues to expand. The richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined.
But at Traidcraft, we believe that business can, and should, be used to help the poor get richer – to help reduce poverty. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to work towards a more prosperous future for their families and communities.
And the good news is that we’ve seen real evidence of this principle in action. In Bangladesh, we’ve been working with smallholder farmers – helping them to improve production and reduce costs so that they can build more successful businesses.
We’ve seen farmers increase their incomes so that they can now afford their basic needs – things like education, nutritional food and healthcare. But what is particularly encouraging is that the benefits of the project have been felt most keenly by the poorest farmers.
Take a look at the graphic below to see what effect the project has had on annual incomes for the smallholder farmers involved…
In British terms these figures seem small - 100,000 taka only amounts to a little under £1000. But for farming families in Bangladesh every increase in income means more children in school, more food on the table and more communities injected with a hope that things can be better.
The average annual household income has more than doubled – a brilliant sign that our development work is doing what it’s supposed to!
The rich may continue to amass more and more wealth, but at Traidcraft we will always focus on helping those at the other end of the spectrum – using sound business practices to make trade work for the poorest in the world.
If you want to find more about our wide range of work, take a look at another of our projects working with cotton farmers in Odisha, India.