More than 400 Fairtrade producers and partners gathered in Nairobi, Kenya to kick off our series of regional 10 year celebrations in style.
The two-day event, held at Strathmore Business School on 23-24 September, gave producers from across East and Central Africa the opportunity to share best practices and discuss their vision for the future of Fairtrade with businesses, NGO partners and Fairtrade staff.
In his key note address, the British High Commissioner, Dr. Christian Turner pointed out his morning ritual of consuming Fairtrade. “You have to come and see, I am a typical English man, I consume good Fairtrade tea from Kenya. Additionally flowers at my residence are Fairtrade,” he said.
Referring to Fairtrade statistics, Dr. Turner noted that 9 out of 10 people in UK know about the FAIRTRADE Mark and already 601 towns in UK are Fairtrade towns. He expressed his confidence in the Fairtrade movement citing that “Fairtrade’s agenda is right because agriculture is at the centre of Africa’s labour force.”
The High Commissioner, further congratulated Fairtrade Africa in its achievements in tackling poverty in farming communities.
“Fairtrade Africa plays a crucial role in helping to improve the lives of poor people in a sustainable way, by ensuring farmers receive fair prices for their products and workers receive better wages to help them support their families….Here in Kenya, Fairtrade Africa has played an important role in protecting workers from exploitation and improving working conditions. This has had a hugely positive impact not only to direct beneficiaries, but also their communities.”
In conclusion he also urged more businesses to commit to Fairtrade as the “right and smart thing to do”.
Topics covered over the two days included:
Workshops on Workers’ rights and Living Wage, Gender and leadership, Standards and Compliance, Innovative and Finance Mechanisms, Policy and Advocacy and Trade. There was also a session where 5 producer organisations shared their best practises.
“It is fantastic that so many producers have come to this event”, said Anna Mlay, member of Karagwe District Cooperative Union in Tanzania and Chair of the Eastern & Central Africa Fairtrade Network. “They see the benefit of networking, of getting information about the Fairtrade market, or the changes in Standards, or topics such as climate change. We want to increase this sharing, and improve the services to our members further in future”.
Download a summary of the event and presentations here