Fairtrade International improves market access for farmers and workers

NAIROBI, Kenya June 25 – Fairtrade International improves market access by working alongside farmers and workers to strengthen their businesses, gain greater control over their lives and generate solutions that reduce poverty, secure human rights people and build climate resilience.

The organization works with agricultural cooperatives, 6,500 businesses and governments to make trade fair and trigger a catalytic effect in providing livelihoods for farmers and employed people across the food supply chain while helping to reduce global food insecurity and boost the African economy.

While there are over 1.9 million farmers in the Fairtrade system represented by 1,880 producer organizations around the world, the growth of Fairtrade farmers and workers from 2015 to 2020 amounted to 389,324 with the seven main products, including coffee, cocoa, bananas, sugar, flowers and plants, tea and cotton, which represent more than 90% of farmers and workers in the Fairtrade system.

Speaking today at the Boma Inn Hotel in Kenya, Fairtrade International’s Global Managing Director (CEO), Ms Sandra Uwera, said the challenges of climate change are too big and urgent to be tackled by individuals, adding that Fairtrade expands its model and engages people and organizations to strengthen the impact of the institution.

“This is Fairtrade’s most ambitious strategy to date, and it reflects the seriousness of the challenges we face. Additionally, Fairtrade empowers farmers and workers in developing countries to secure better livelihoods by addressing injustices in the global value chain,” Uwera noted.

The CEO revealed that Fairtrade’s base wage is set at a minimum of 70% of the net wage needed for a living wage, which has been established by the Global Living Wage Coalition of standard setters for over 30 countries and regions.

As a result, according to Uwera, the changes mean wages will increase by up to 15% for thousands of workers in countries where workers currently earn less than the Fairtrade base wage.

“For example, in East Africa, the introduction of basic wages in the floriculture industry has already led to a significant increase in workers’ incomes,” she illustrated.

Furthermore, Uwera revealed that coffee sales from Fairtrade producers remained stable globally in 2020, as Fairtrade producers were able to hold competitions with their high-quality Fairtrade coffee in major markets such as Germany. , the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and France.

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She also added that flower grower sales remained almost flat, declining only 2%, despite massive logistical challenges due to the pandemic restrictions of the same year.

Uwera said farmers and workers are included at all levels of Fairtrade governance and decision-making and that understanding the impact of the company’s work requires transparency and traceability, with supporting data.

“We unleash the power of Fairtrade supply chains with data-driven insights that provide producers and businesses with the tools to demonstrate Fairtrade impact and support learning,” she added.

Some of the global brands supporting Fairtrade include Guylian Chocolates, Maltesers Chocolates, Ben n Jerry Ice Cream, while some key customers and partners include Mars Group, Carrefour Hypermarkets, Coop Supermarkets, Ben n Jerry (part of Unilever ), Cargill, Barry Callebaut, B-Lab among others.

Locally in Kenya, Fairtrade Africa has supported leading brands such as Kericho Gold and Dormans Coffee to source sustainable coffees and teas from Fairtrade certified value chains. Other brands include Zawadi Coffee (a coffee brand grown and owned by women), Lecom from Machakos, and Umoja and Sireet Tea from the Rift Valley, among others.

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