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In 2009, fair trade sales totaled more than 3.4 billion euros. More than 5 million people in over 60 countries have directly or indirectly profited from fairer ties between producer and consumer. It's a simple idea: Consumers pay a bit more to benefit farmers and producers in less developed countries. Even more exotic products, such as purple rice from Laos, are being sold as fair trade items. But improving the living standard of fair trade rice farmers in Laos is a slow process - since growing crops using chemical fertilizers and pesticides is more profitable. Instead of planting fair trade rice, many farmers have opted to grow maize for Vietnamese clients. Meanwhile, activists are still pushing the fair trade concept, and a portion of the revenue from fair trade products helps fund local infrastructure.