However, fair trade production of cotton and textiles does not always benefit workers. Burkina Faso and Mali export the largest amount of cotton to Africa. Although many cotton plantations in these countries were certified for fair trade in the 1990s, participation in fair trade consolidates the existing power and inequalities that cause poverty in Africa rather than challenge them. Fair trade does little for farmers if it does not challenge the system that marginalizes producers. Although farmers are not strengthened, the shift to fair trade cotton has positive effects, including women`s participation in culture.  Large transnational companies have begun to use fair trade products in their products. In April 2000, Starbucks began offering fair trade coffee in all of its stores. In 2005, the company promised to buy ten million pounds of fair trade coffee over the next 18 months. This would account for a quarter of fair trade coffee purchases in the United States and 3% of Starbucks` total coffee purchases.  The company asserts that extending its fair trade purchases would require an unprofitable replenishment of the supply chain.
 Fair trade activists have made a profit with other companies: Sara Lee Corporation in 2002 and Procter and Gamble (the manufacturer of Folgers) in 2003, agreed to start selling a small amount of fair trade coffee. Nestlé, the world`s largest coffee distributor, began selling a fair trade coffee blend in 2005.  In 2006, The Hershey Company acquired Dagoba, an organic and fair trade chocolate brand. There is a lot of controversy about fair trade products that are part of the big business. Starbucks is still only 3% fair trade – enough to appease consumers, but not enough to make a real difference for small farmers, according to some activists. The ethics of buying fair trade from a non-caused company is questionable; These products are only a small breach in a large company, although the products of these companies represent an important part of the global fair trade.  The first attempts to market fair trade products in northern markets were initiated in the 1940s and 1950s by religious groups and various political nails (NGOs). Ten thousand villages, an NGO on the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and SERRV International were the first to develop equitable supply chains for fair trade in developing countries in 1946 and 1949.  Products, almost exclusively handicrafts, from jute to cross-stitching, were most often sold in churches or fairs. The goods themselves often had no other function than to report a donation.  African exports come from countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
These exports are estimated at $24 million.  Between 2004 and 2006, Africa rapidly increased its number of FLO-certified producer groups from 78 to 171, almost half of which live in Kenya; Just behind, Tanzania and South Africa.  The FLO products for which Africa is known are tea, cocoa, flowers and wine.  In Africa, there are smallholder cooperatives and plantations that produce fair trade certified tea.  Cocoa-producing countries in West Africa often form cooperatives producing fair trade cocoa, such as Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana.  West African countries that do not have strong fair trade industries are subject to a deterioration in the quality of cocoa as they compete with other countries for profit. These countries include Cameroon, Nigeria and Côte d`Ivoire.  One proposition because African workers are marginalized in world trade is that the colonial division of labour has prevented Africa from developing its own industries. Africa and other developing countries have obtained low prices for their exported raw materials, such as cocoa, resulting in poverty.