There’s no shying away from some big problems within the Mate industry. “I like Mate without child labor” is a documentary produced by the media company Posibl. and recently brought before the Argentine Senate. It was the product of a campaign launched by Patricia Ocampo and Jorge Kordi. The documentary aimed to expose the poverty that afflicts the “tareferos,” or pickers of mate, the source of Argentina’s national drink.
A Dream for Misiones
Members of the non-governmental organisation Un Sueño para Misiones (A Dream for Misiones) were donating books in that northeastern Argentine province when they uncovered the use of child labor in the yerba mate fields. They say the problem dates back hundreds of years.
The lawyer, a native of Misiones, says children as young as five accompany their parents and help them gather the yerba mate, initially as a game.
The NGO is trying to get a bill passed to create a certification system and have a “No Child Labor” seal applied to brands of mate produced by tareferos who work under dignified conditions.
In order to combat this and other problems in the Mate industry, Meta Mate created the FAIR TRUST certification. Fair Trust means that the consumer is guaranteed complete transparency as to where the products originate from, how they are processed and the financial side of things. In goes beyond the better-known Fair Trade certification, which does not allow autonomy for small farmers.
Here is a common definition of Fair Trade:
“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade Organisations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.”
“Not all Meta Mate products are certified but all of them go beyond Organic and Fair trade regarding the quality and the environmental impact. Our research testifies this, so we created the Fair Trust concept to promote transparency and the development of state of the art business practices. Just as Mate is about sharing and unifying we care to mirror this in the quality of our business Model.”