Radio is by far the only meaningful mass medium in Africa. As the road network is still overall poor, transport remains expensive, influencing the cost of other communication tools like newspapers. Moreover, radio is closely linked to the continent’s oral tradition.
How do you communicate to consumers, buyers and other partners what impact Fairtrade is having on farmers when you live in a remote area in Southern Africa? Satemwa Tea Estates struggled with this question when they first saw the impact Fairtrade can have on the livelihoods of African farmers. What is the best tool to use to reach stakeholders who are mostly based in the north?
Women in Naivasha have suffered improper maternal care for a long time. Over the past ten years the development in the horticultural sector in the region has led to an increase in migration of workers and their families. An additional 70,000 people have been employed, 70% of them being female. Unfortunately, local authorities did not adapt Naivasha’s healthcare facilities to the new situation.
Land ownership and income streams management have been the domain of men in the Mbale area. Traditionally, a woman’s place is at home, taking care of the household and children. When Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative heard about the positive results of a gender balance project rolled out in a neighbouring cooperative, they decided to implement the programme in their own organisation.
As men are often the sole income providers in rural Morocco, many women are entirely dependent on their husbands or fathers. With unemployment hitting high levels in the region, families live in dire circumstances. In Tighanimine, a group of women of the local douar (a Berber tent camp) decided to take action. By creating the very first Fairtrade certified argan oil cooperative in the world they were able to lift themselves out of poverty.
Illiterate workers at Magrabi Agriculture have been overly dependent on colleagues to understand company policies and work instructions. When the Joint Body had to decide how to invest the Fairtrade Premium, the workers suggested setting up adult education classes.
Supervisors at Kiliflora required the help of workers to provide regular harvest reports. Delayed recordings brought to light the huge numbers of illiterate producers working on the farm. Many Kiliflora workers – from all ages – lacked basic reading and writing skills, urging management to think of a permanent solution.
Illiteracy was a major problem among the Sun Orange Farms’ workforce. Signing of employment contracts, training attendance, and even withdrawing cash via ATMs – simple tasks proved to be a major hurdle for many workers. Management therefore decided to start an adult education programme.
Pest and diseases like leaf rust and leaf miner have contributed to huge losses at Kaliluni Farmers’ Co-operative Society. Leaf rust was causing premature shedding of leaves, reducing the growth of stems. The bugs burrowed through the coffee leaves inhibiting photosynthesis. Although farmers understood they needed to apply pesticides to save their crop, they lacked adequate knowledge to identify the specific treatment.
Farmers from Ecookim and Coopaako have benefited greatly from pesticides supplied by Côte d’Ivoire’s government. However, despite the disappearance of the pests over time the output stayed low. High illiteracy rates amongst the farmers contributed to improper application of the pesticides, putting them at risk as they couldn’t read the safety precautions on the bottles.
A few years ago, the cane sugar farmers of Medine Camp started to notice a gradual reduction in their output. Researchers from the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute (MSIRI), engaged by the government of Mauritius, discovered that the cane setts had been affected by pests as well as excessive weeds. The researchers recommended the use of fungicides and herbicides as the main solution.
With around one in ten of the population living with HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe is experiencing one of the harshest AIDS epidemics in the world. Statistics from the local clinic show that 10% of workers at Sheena Flowers and Plants are HIV positive. To help control the disease, the farm has set up different projects to educate its workers and help the ones affected by AIDS.
Although less affected than countries in Southern Africa, an estimated 2.3 million people (6.6% of the total population) live with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Unlike in most other countries, the Ugandan government has played an active role and effective public campaigns have contributed to a decline of the HIV pandemic over the past years.
Around 2% of Ghanaians are infected with HIV/AIDS, but the situation in the Eastern region of the country, where VREL is located, is significantly worse. With a percentage of 7.8, Agormanya, the town nearest to the organisation, records one of the highest numbers of HIV victims in Ghana. To address the social and economic consequences of the epidemic, VREL management annually roles out an HIV/AIDS work plan.
To light up their houses after dark, workers at the Tambuzi flower farm relied on paraffin (or kerosene) as the main energy source. Unfortunately, paraffin has many disadvantages: it is not very effective, can cause health issues and is difficult to transport. But the biggest issue was the rising cost of the energy source. Over the past five years, the price has increased by 9% annually.
In South Africa coal is used as the main energy source to generate electricity. Unfortunately, it is generally considered as the dirtiest form of generating power. Winery Stellar Organics is located in the Western Cape, where during summer months temperatures can soar. The amount of energy required to keep its wine at the right temperature is very high.
As a tea factory, Iriaini has been heavily dependent on wood as a fuel source. The factory needs 20,000 to 25,000 trees or 20 to 25 acres on a yearly basis. As it takes eight to ten years for newly planted trees to be ready for fuel production, the situation was becoming unsustainable and Iriaini decided to look for an alternative.
Agriculture consumes 80% of natural water resources in Tunisia. The sources the date farmers at GDAB rely on are two fossil water reserves, which due to very low recharge, are non-renewable. The scarcity of water resources in the area is worsened by factors such as the arid climate, groundwater salinity – caused by agricultural activities and inefficient management.
Sand harvesting and inadequate rainfall due to climate change have drastically lowered water levels of rivers in the Kangundo area. Sand harvesting is a new, income-generating activity whereby unemployed youths sell river sand to construction companies. It causes the degradation of rivers as it hinders streams from retaining water.
Climate change has wiped out nearly half of the five million coffee trees the members of the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union in the north of Malawi have planted since 1998. Rains have become very unpredictable and increasingly cause erosion. Mzuzu farmers are unable to install irrigation systems due to their high cost.
A majority of Kuapa Kokoo’s members own only small areas of land. As the cocoa harvest varies throughout the year — with main and light crops — these farmers cannot depend on a stable income. Over the past few years, Kuapa Kokoo has invested part of its Fairtrade Premium in several income-generating activities. One of these is the palm oil extractor.
Price volatility makes it hard for coffee farmers to predict their income for the coming season. Like Rukuriri, KNCU identified potential projects to diversify the income of their farmers. After discussions with the farmers, the organisation decided to invest in a tourism project.
Due to unpredictable climatic conditions and ongoing fluctuations of market prices, tea farmers at the Rukuriri Tea Factory became aware of the risks associated with over-dependence on their tea harvest. Management encouraged farmers to expand their revenue base by engaging in other income-generating projects.
For a long time Akoma farmers had been grinding their nuts and packing their shea butter in bulk, as the market demanded. However, recently customers’ preference has been changing, opting for shea butter that had been packaged and labeled as a finished product instead.
Less than 5% of Iriaini Tea Factory’s sales are under Fairtrade terms. On average its small-scale farmers, who are co-owners of the factory, own 0.5 acres of land and earn 150 KS (less than 2USD) per day.