Fairtrade Africa Press Releases
Making the International Food System Work for Small Farmers
May 11, 2013, Seventy percent of the world’s food is produced by 500 million smallholder farmers; this group also represents half of the world’s hungry people. On World Fair Trade Day, Fairtrade International releases the report, ‘Powering up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair’, calling for urgent action to support smallholder farmers.
The report launches shortly before the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland on 8 June and lays out a five-point agenda for action, calling on leaders to use their influence to put smallholder farmers into the heart of governments’ trade policy and international business practice.
“Fairtrade Africa in collaboration with its partners is empowering African producers and their communities to make food fair through improving the predictability of incomes through international as well as regional markets,” says James Mwai, acting Executive Director of Fairtrade Africa. “The partnership also enhances capacity building of producer organisations, increasing on farm productivity, and access to impact finance and building resilience to climate change”
The report highlights the global reliance on smallholder farmers for everyday foods. Roughly 30 million smallholders produce most of the world’s coffee and cocoa (80% of all coffee and 90% of all cocoa), while tens of millions more produce tea, bananas and sugar.
Yet many of these farmers are trapped in a cycle of poverty, exacerbated by decades of price volatility, lack of resources to invest, global inflationary prices for food and farm inputs, and the impact of climate change. What’s more, the rampant consolidation of food companies has created an ‘hourglass economy’ that squeezes farmers:
· Coffee: Three companies account for around 42 per cent of global coffee sales. Coffee growers receive 7-10 percent of the retail price of coffee in supermarkets while 33 percent goes to the retailer.
· Cocoa and chocolate: Global cocoa supplies are controlled by just nine companies: three grinders and six chocolate and confectionery companies. In 2010, four companies accounted for 56 percent of the world’s US$82.5 billion chocolate sales. Cocoa growers receive just 3.5-6 percent of the average retail value of a chocolate bar, compared to 18 percent in the 1980s.
· Tea: Seven companies control 85 percent of tea production through their factories and estates. Smallholder tea growers are likely to receive less than 3 percent of the retail value of tea, and often less than 1 percent.
· Bananas: Of the retail price of bananas, only 5-10 per cent goes to the small-scale producers.
· Sugar: Figures from 2009 suggest that small sugar growers in Uganda received around 14 percent of the UK retail price of sugar and 11 percent of the US price.
The report recommends a five-point plan for governments, businesses, NGOs, and the general public to drive change for small farmers and deliver on greater global food security. These include:
1. Farmers first: Increase farmers’ voice, influence and organisation
2. Fair share of value: Ensure farmers are empowered in value chains and receive fair prices
3. Fair access to finance: Ensure access to timely and affordable credit
4. Future-proofed farming: Prioritise sustainable agriculture and climate resilience
5. Focus in government funding: Increase and target national and donor government spending on agriculture
There are signs that smallholder agriculture is starting to be recognised as a potential powerhouse to fix a broken system, including the launch by G8 world leaders of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition at Camp David in the USA in 2012. However, the international Fairtrade system argues that overall financial investment remains inadequate, particularly in light of the $42.7bn the FAO estimates it will take to tackle hunger and provide enough food for all.
With governments increasingly focussing on the role of multinational companies and agribusiness, Fairtrade argues that policy makers are missing the potential solutions that could be delivered by smallholder farmer organisations themselves as the key agents for food security, rural economic development, and, for some, trading relations that lift communities out of poverty.
Please download the full report, Powering up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair (PDF), for more information and ideas on how you can help make sure smallholder farmers are part of the solution in making food fair.
Simpler labelling for Fairtrade gold
Fairtrade International announced today that Fairtrade labelling on gold is set to become more straightforward.
From 22 April, the formal partnership between Fairtrade International and The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) will end, which means the dual label on gold, silver and platinum will be phased out during 2013 and replaced with the highly recognised FAIRTRADE Mark only, creating a more consumer friendly label. The FAIRTRADE Mark is the world’s best known ethical label, recognized by over 80% of consumers in several global markets. The move will also help increase jeweller participation in the Fairtrade gold scheme and bring maximum benefits back to miners.
The decision to separate the labelling process for gold follows an extensive review of the current system, in which the market clearly called for a simplification of the existing Fairtrade and Fairmined label to facilitate market growth. It also comes at the natural end of a three year pilot partnership with ARM.
Fairtrade International and ARM jointly launched Fairtrade and Fairmined gold in the UK in 2011, closely followed by launches in other global markets. Both partners in the pilot project shared a common vision to create better conditions for artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM). The partnership successfully brought about empowerment of miner’s organisations, raising awareness of issues in the ASM sector and providing businesses with a traceable source of responsibly mined and fairly traded gold.
“Working with Fairtrade and Fairmined gold has helped make miners a more powerful part of the industry, but we’re really just at the beginning of our journey,” said Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International. “We’re determined to put the spotlight on the challenges which miners face, to grow the market for Fairtrade gold, and to bring about improvement and change, to ensure a better future for miners and their families.”
“We are very proud of our achievements in the mining sector to date”, said Chris Davis, Head of Producer Services Africa & Middle East at Fairtrade International. “Going forward, the two partner organizations hope that by working more independently, yet cooperating wherever possible, we can make greater progress towards further improved terms of trade for disadvantaged miners in the future.”
“Fairtrade remains focused on continuing to improve working conditions, environmental standards and terms of trade for ASM mining organizations and providing a growing sustainable source of responsibly mined gold for jewellers, jewellery manufacturers and ethical investment houses.”
Both partners will phase out the dual label through 2013, but continue to offer respective label certification programmes separately.
In the first year of Fairtrade and Fairmined certification alone, people living in the isolated Peruvian community of Santa Filomena have reaped the benefits of being Fairtrade certified. Thanks to the Fairtrade Premium generated by Sotrami, the community have been able to invest in improved healthcare, primary school facilities and new computers for the senior school. They also opened a not-for-profit convenience store which means the 500-strong community can buy food at reasonable prices.
End of the Fairtrade and Fairmined partnership
What is happening?
As a result of a partnership review process and taking into account feedback received from both market and mining partners, Fairtrade International and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) have decided not to renew their existing formal partnership, but to move to a more flexible model of co-operation.
The decision to end the partnership comes at the natural end of the three year pilot project between ARM and Fairtrade International. We are proud of the accomplishments we have achieved over this time but feel that moving forward we can provide greater opportunities for miners by working independently.
Did ARM and Fairtrade International fall out?
No, together we have built a pioneering initiative that has resulted in positive change for the artisanal and small scale mining sector. We consider ourselves important allies working towards common goals, but going forward, our two organizations hope that by working more independently, yet cooperating wherever possible, we can make greater progress towards further improved terms of trade for disadvantaged miners in the future.
The fundamental goals of the Fairtrade and the Fairmined systems remain focused on continuing to improve working conditions, environmental standards and terms of trade with ASM mining organizations and providing a growing sustainable source of responsibly mined gold.
Will ARM and Fairtrade still promote fair gold?
Both ARM and Fairtrade International will continue to promote Fairmined gold and Fairtrade Gold, only separately.
How will the change affect gold products in the future?
From 22 April, the formal partnership between Fairtrade International and The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) will end, which means the dual label on gold, silver and platinum will be phased out during 2013. From 22 April 2013, all products made from certified gold, silver and platinum will be stamped with either the Fairtrade or the Fairmined certification labels or both separately.
What does the end of the partnership mean for current certified miners?
To ensure that miners have continued access to markets and any impacts on their operations are minimized, ARM and Fairtrade International have agreed to a transition period throughout 2013. During this transition period already certified mining groups will continue to be audited by Flo-Cert and their gold is eligible to be traded either as Fairtrade gold or as Fairmined gold to ensure that they have continued access to markets and any impacts on their operations are minimized. As of 2014 miners are free to decide to participate in either the Fairmined or the Fairtrade scheme or in both.
Will miners still be able to sell their gold with a premium?
Yes, miners will still receive a premium for gold sold as certified either Fairtrade or Fairmined as per the existing trading terms. The premium shall be managed through democratic and transparent decision making processes by the miners and other participating stakeholders
What about future certified miners? Both Fairtrade International and ARM will support new groups to comply with the standards relating to their individual label.
Will miners still follow equally high standards assuring customers that their gold is responsible? Yes, both the Fairtrade Gold standard and the Fairmined Gold standard will continue to set rigorous requirements in terms of social and labor conditions and environmental practices.
Will miners lose development opportunities? No, separating out the labels will mean that miners will have greater opportunities as new markets open up, permitting even more miners to benefit from participating in responsible artisanal and small scale mining certification schemes.
Will both Fairtrade International and ARM continue to have a standard for gold? Yes, both organizations will continue working with their individual revised standards for gold and associated precious metals.
What happens to the currently ongoing standard revision? The current standards consultation will be continued independently by each organization. ARM and Fairtrade International will share information on their respective standards work in accordance with their plans and timelines.
If I am already a Fairtrade & Fairmined licensee what happens next? Fairtrade International and ARM have agreed to a transition period throughout 2013. During this time existing licensees can continue to use the dual label and any promotional material that they have produced with it. Licensees that are registered will be approached by Fairtrade and ARM to update their licensee agreements for use of the respective organizations labels. Each licensee is free to work with either scheme or with both as they choose.
Will it still be possible to purchase Fairtrade & Fairmined gold and jewelry? Existing stocks of products carrying the dual label Fairtrade & Fairmined will be on sale until they are sold out. All certifiable newly produced gold and jewelry will be eligible for labeling as either Fairmined or Fairtrade. At no point will there be an interruption in the availability of certified labeled gold and jewelry.
How can I purchase Fairmined gold?
Please contact Kenneth Porter, Value Systems Coordinator in ARM at email@example.com.
How can I purchase Fairtrade gold? UK busineses should contact the Fairtrade Foundation’s dedicated Customer Services team firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit the website www.fairtrade.org.uk/gold. International enquiries should be directed to email@example.com, Co-ordinator for Fairtrade International’s gold programme.
I am a consumer of FT&FM gold. How will I be able to know what gold is responsible and safe to buy and will support responsible miners in the future?
Gold certified as either Fairtrade or Fairmined will continue to provide assurance that it has been mined responsibly, in full compliance with the respective standard, reassuring the consumer that you are supporting miners who are committed to responsible practices.
Will certified gold still provide full traceability from mine to market?
Fully traceable gold from mine to market will continue to be available for labeled finished products.
I have more questions. Who should I contact?
Alliance for Responsible Mining:
Kenneth Porter, Value Systems Coordinator,
Press enquiries only:
Siri Teilmann-Ibsen , Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
For UK businesses- Fairtrade Foundation : Victoria Waugh, Fairtrade Foundation email@example.com
Press enquiries only:
Martine Parry, Fairtrade Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org
Stand up and be counted
Nearly 1.24 million Fairtrade farmers and workers present and accounted for in 2012 Monitoring Report
Bonn, Germany; 29 January 2013 – As sales of Fairtrade products continue to grow around the world, the need for understanding the impact increases. Today Fairtrade International (FLO) releases ‘Monitoring the Scope and Benefits of Fairtrade 2012’, a compendium of data and summaries of key research exploring the impacts of Fairtrade. The full report can be found at http://www.fairtrade.net/impact_studies.html.
Among other findings, the report highlights the importance of small farmer organizations in the Fairtrade system. By the end of 2011, the total number of small-scale farmers in the Fairtrade system topped 1 million with a 26 percent increase in sales revenues on Fairtrade terms.
“Fairtrade is making a difference for over a million farmers and workers and their families, as this report shows,” said Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive at Fairtrade International. “The rich data here gives insights into our core strengths – for example our world class work with smallholder organisations – as well as those areas where we need to improve, such as in furthering workers’ empowerment and progress toward a living wage.”
Key insights include:
- The overall number of producer organizations increased 10 percent, and the total number of farmers and workers in the system increased 13 percent between 2010 and 2011.
- Smallholder organizations reported a 30 percent increase in sales revenues on Fairtrade terms, and a 26 percent increase Fairtrade Premium in the time period under review.
- Strong growth in cocoa and sugar between 2010 and 2011. Fairtrade Premium received by smallholder cocoa farmers increased 89 percent; total farmers producing Fairtrade sugar grew from 17,600 to 37,200. This reflects the initial results of large scale commitments to Fairtrade by major sugar and chocolate companies.
- Challenges in the worker sector. While the data show strong growth across many indicators for small producer organizations, plantations and other hired labour set-ups in some product areas continued to sell only a relatively small share of their production as Fairtrade. Recognising this, Fairtrade International is beginning implementation of a new Hired Labour Strategy to increase impact and ensure greater benefits for workers (Read the full story here http://www.fairtrade.net/single_view1+M5ebc19f4b9d.html).
From sugar farmers in Guyana to banana workers in Ghana, information from 990 out of 991 producer organizations make this report the most complete ever. The report contains over 100 charts and graphs showing where Fairtrade farmers and workers are located (top country is Kenya with 173,800 farmers and workers), and information about production and sales, and how producers use the Fairtrade Premium (strong preference among small farmer organizations to invest in business development).
In addition, for the first time, this year’s report includes summaries of recent in-depth research into the impacts of Fairtrade in specific products and countries, as well as individual producer stories. This allows readers to look beyond the data on sales, production, and Fairtrade Premium to gain insights into areas that are of key importance to Fairtrade, such as worker empowerment and producer organization strengthening. One of the highlights is a study released December 2012 that looked into the effects of Fairtrade across six product ranges on three continents (for the full report, visit http://www.fairtrade.net/single_view1+M5573522f639.html)
“Our monitoring system and this report are part of our commitment to transparency and learning. The data demonstrate the successes, but also, maybe more importantly, show us where we can improve,” said Kate Kilpatrick, Research, Evaluation and Learning Manager at Fairtrade International.
Information Highlights for Africa:
About the Report
This is the fourth edition of Monitoring the Scope and Benefits of Fairtrade since Fairtrade International first began distributing a full overview of system wide data. The publication of the monitoring data is part of our commitment to compliance with the ISEAL Impacts Code. The ISEAL Impacts Code requires member standards systems to develop credible monitoring and evaluation systems.
ISEAL is the global association for sustainability standards. Their work in creating an Impacts Code, along with a Standard-Setting Code and Assurance Code provides important oversight to the sustainability sector.
The full report can be found at http://www.fairtrade.net/impact_studies.html.
+49 (0) 228 949 23 277
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Fairtrade Farmers Call for Support in the Fight Against Climate Change
Fairtrade farmers starting to adapt, but urge leaders to free up desperately needed finance
Fairtrade producers are calling on world leaders and decision-makers to ensure the most vulnerable get the support and finance they desperately need to adapt to the growing impact of climate change on their farms and communities.
In a statement on the eve of the UN Climate Conference (COP18) in Doha, Fairtrade’s producer networks from Africa, Asia and Latin America & the Caribbean paint the troubling picture of the challenges they are facing.
As small-scale farmers, we are personally confronted by climate change on a daily basis. And as networks representing Fairtrade producers, we are receiving more and more reports from our members who are struggling with its effects. Hail and frost has destroyed tea plantations in the west of the Kenya, causing tea farmers to lose millions of Kenyan shillings. Lower yields and poor quality are causing many coffee farmers in Latin America to abandon their farms. And in Kerala, India, 40 % less rainfall this year threatens to drastically reduce Fairtrade farmer’s coffee and rice yields.
For vulnerable farmers, climate change is a daily reality that threatens their source of livelihood: agriculture. At the same time, lower yields of staple crops are driving up food prices, threatening their ability to feed their families. Action is needed, and fast. Fairtrade farmers are already taking measures to adapt, but still lack resources and technical expertise. Finance, such as Green Climate Fund, has been promised but it is failing to reach those who need it most.
We are doing all we can to deal with the impact of climate change on our very livelihoods. We have planted shade trees to create buffer zones to deal with extreme temperatures and drought. We are applying indigenous methods,…we have been able to set up cook stoves that help us save wood, and solar lighting for our communities. But all these things cost money, and need technical expertise. And as the most vulnerable, our efforts to address climate change as well as our demands for support remain largely unheard.
Fairtrade producers are travelling to Doha to put forward these calls for action:
- We ask the UNFCC and the international community to focus on adaptation as much as mitigation. We have experienced enough of the real effects of climate change, and they can no longer be avoided.
- We call on governments to ensure adaptation finance is made readily available to those that need it the most: rural, climate-vulnerable communities.
- We call on businesses to make investments in climate change adaptation at farm level to ensure the sustainability of their supply chains and to enable us to continue producing the food that will feed the world of tomorrow.
Fairtrade producers from Africa, Asia and Latin America will be at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP18) in Doha, advocating for more finance to adapt to climate change and explaining how Fairtrade can be part of the solution.
We are hosting and taking part in several events, including a joint press conference and side event with Gold Standard Foundation and FSC, a Fairtrade reception and podium discussions. We will also have a booth in the conference centre and at the Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day. See our events page for a full overview.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Fairtrade producers at COP18, please contact Vicky Pauschert, Communications: email@example.com, +49172 5401676
Read more about the effects of climate change on Fairtrade producers here: www.fairclimatedeal.net
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Fairtrade Access Fund To Provide Long-Term Loans To Smallholder Farmers
Brussels, Bonn, Washington, D.C., Seattle, April 24, 2012 –Today, Incofin Investment Management, Fairtrade and Grameen Foundation announced they are establishing the first fund to focus on the unmet demand of smallholder farmers for long-term loans. Starbucks Coffee Company joins as the Fund’s first anchor private investor with a $1.3m (€1m) commitment. The Fund will offer investors both financial and demonstrable social results.
The Fairtrade Access Fund will provide farmers’ cooperatives and associations the long-term loans they need to renew their farms or adopt new technologies and equipment.
Smallholder farmers in developing countries have tremendous potential but are held back from growth because they cannot access the financing they need. According to a 2010 survey conducted by Fairtrade International, Fairtrade farmers in Latin America alone say they need $500 million to cover their financing needs, more than half of this for long-term loans.
The Fairtrade Access Fund uniquely offers a full range of loan types and technical assistance to enable farmers’ organizations to strengthen and secure their businesses, including a new facility that will allow farmers to receive timely information on Fairtrade certification practices, crop management and localized market information via their mobile phones.
The Fund will provide financing to farmer cooperatives and other producer organizations that are Fairtrade certified or are applying for certification. Through Fairtrade, farmers’ organizations will have improved access to international markets, a minimum price safety net and other economic benefits.
The Fund will launch in Latin America later in the fall and expand into Africa and Asia in a second phase. It targets a launch size of $8-12m (€6m-9m), and is projected to approach $25m (€20m) by the end of year two. The three sponsors have committed the initial locked-up capital. The Fund offers investors a competitive financial target return with the possibility of a yearly dividend. Its open-ended structure gives investors flexibility to redeem their shares.
The Fund represents a unique collaboration between a social investment firm and two global nonprofits that focus on helping people in developing countries improve their lives.
“The Fairtrade Access Fund is an effective way of promoting agricultural finance and achieving a high social impact for smallholder famers. This new initiative is entirely in line with our social mission and underlines our commitment to supporting rural businesses in emerging economies,” said Loïc De Cannière, Managing Director of Incofin Investment Management.
“In Fairtrade we’ve witnessed how farmers can transform their own lives if they just have the means. With the help of our partners and investors, the Fairtrade Access Fund will fill a critical gap so producers can drive change in their communities,” said Tuulia Syvaenen, Executive Operating Officer of Fairtrade International.
“Grameen Foundation is pleased to be partnering with Incofin and Fairtrade on an innovative, holistic approach to solving the challenges that poor smallholder farmers face and ultimately help them reduce their risks and increase yields and income,” said Alex Counts, president and CEO of Grameen Foundation.
“Investing in smallholder farmers directly reflects our desire to strengthen coffee supply chains and improve the livelihood of farmers around the world,” said Ben Packard, vice president, Global Responsibility, Starbucks. “By working with the Fairtrade Access Fund, we come that much closer to our goal of establishing $20M in farmer loans by 2015.”
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Fairtrade and Fairmined gold moves into Africa
London, 6 March 2012 – The world’s first independent ethical certification system for responsibly mined gold – Fairtrade and Fairmined gold – celebrates its first anniversary. The Fairtrade Foundation, which certifies the gold, announced that 350kg of gold per year will soon be available to jewellers, with more to follow. Thanks to a grant of £820,318 – over the next three years from Comic Relief, the Fairtrade Foundation will be partnering with Fairtrade Africa, the Alliance for Responsible Mining and Solidaridad to develop gold supplies from artisanal and small-scale miners in Africa.
The Fairtrade Foundation reports that sales of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold bullions reached an estimated £700,000 in 2011. In the first year of trading, four gold mining organisations in Latin-America have become certified and an additional two are currently going through the inspection process and will enter the system in May.
People living in the isolated Peruvian community of Santa Filomena have already reaped the benefits. Thanks to the Fairtrade Premium, the community has invested in healthcare, has built an extension to the primary school and has bought computers for the senior school. They opened a non-profit convenience store which means the 500-strong community can buy food at reasonable prices.
And now the project will move into Africa. Mining in Africa often involves unsafe use of mercury, deforestation, poor working conditions and child labour. The programme will work with eight mining groups in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to develop their technical skills in order to improve hazardous working conditions. Training will also concentrate on the democratic organisation of the mining groups and eliminating child labour. This will mean that gold mined by impoverished African artisanal and small- scale miners can get into international markets through transparent supply chains.
The project aims to raise consumers’ awareness of the challenges faced by African miners as well as to influence the international public policy agenda, through the development of a network of civil society and local governments.
The Fairtrade Foundation is currently working with 40 jewelers, almost double since the launch, and has licensed 591 individual jewelry pieces plus several entire collections. Retailers and jewellers say customers have responded positively to the gold, indicating that businesses will continue to expand their commitment to Fairtrade’s model of ethical sourcing.
The Fairtrade Foundation plans over the coming year to build consumer awareness of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold; it will also help consumers better understand why jewellery bought for a special occasion and made with Fairtrade and Fairmined gold holds greater value and significance.
For more information, contact:
Head of Media Relations
020 7440 7686/07770 957 451
Media and PR Manager
020 7440 7695/07825 827 791
Media and PR Manager
020 7440 8597/07766 504 947
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Adaptation mechanisms under the UNFCCC must work for farmers
Cape Town, 18 November 2011 –Climate change has wiped out nearly half of the 10 million coffee trees the members of the Fairtrade Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union have planted since 2003, according to the union’s operations director Bernard Kaunda. Mzuzu, Coffee represents 3,500 small holder coffee producers in Malawi’s mountainous northern region whose hopes rest on COP17 delivering policies that can help them in the face of climate change.
With 10 days left to COP17 in Durban, South Africa, a critical element of the discussions in Durban must be around financing adaptation. Outcomes of the talks must provide sufficient support to tackle the adaptation needs of farmers in developing countries who have done very little to cause climate change yet are vulnerable to its effects. Fairtrade farmers are no exception and despite the support Fairtrade provides, they remain inadequately resourced to deal with the present and predicted impacts of the climate change phenomenon.
Farmers are often overlooked in the current Climate Change policy frameworks. Fairtrade calls upon world leaders, at COP17 and beyond, to prioritise policies geared to facilitate the smooth adaptation of agriculture dependent communities, to the changes that have been precipitated by climate change. The urgency of such policy formulation is evident in the wake of the increasingly negative effects of climate change. Farmers have been unable to adequately adapt to the effects due to lack of financial muscle, or access to other resources that are needed for them to salvage their livelihoods.
Fairtrade farmers are representative of a critically important element of many developing country economies – export agriculture. If the impacts already being experienced by Fairtrade farmers are replicated at national and regional levels, then many countries will be pushed ever deeper in a situation of dependency.
Fairtrade hails the establishment of the Green Climate Fund but reiterates this Fund needs to make agriculture a priority with a focus on adaptation to climate change. At the same time it must ensure that disbursement mechanisms enable vulnerable communities to adequately benefit from it. It is imperative that this fund become functional and help communities adapt to the effects of climate change.
For further information, please contact Nokutula Mhene - firstname.lastname@example.org
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A fair climate deal for Fairtrade producers
Cape Town, 28 October 2011 – Fairtrade Africa is participating at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP17) to raise the voice of Fairtrade producers. Fairtrade Africa urges policymakers to consider the needs and plight of Fairtrade producers in the face of climate change. Fairtrade producers are at the frontline of the battle against climate change as they face the ripple effects that affect their product and ultimately food security at the national and global level. The war against food insecurity is on-going and the real threats that climate change poses to agricultural systems and livelihoods in developing countries may further exacerbated this situation.
Fairtrade farmers are clearly already feeling the effects of climate change. Yvette Konstadopoulos is a wine farmer in Western Cape South Africa, in an area that receives less than 20mm of rain each year and is heavily reliant on the Orange River to ensure their table grape crop. “Two floods came down river at different times that put 15 rows of grapes underwater. We were very lucky really, as the floods came two weeks after we had harvested the last of our table grapes. If that had occurred in the middle of the harvest we would have lost a lot of produce, and this would have had a very harsh financial impact on us. The destruction of a full crop can put you out of business, and that would put a lot of people out of work in the community.”
Despite the devastating impacts climate change is having on their farms, the voice of Fairtrade producers has not been heard within the climate change negotiations. A failure to do so will have drastic ripple effects across the developing world. In response, Fairtrade Africa has taken the lead in engaging the Fair Trade movement in the climate change policy process. Fair Trade is an international movement that works to protect and support small-scale farmers and workers in the South. Its mission is to connect disadvantaged producers with consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower producers to combat poverty. Fairtrade Africa represents the African farmers in the global system. Over half a million producers in Africa benefit from Fairtrade.
Climate change will create an even more unfair playing ground given small scale farmers’ lack of financial adaptive capacity to respond to changes in the climate. A lack of adaptive capacity will mean decreased resilience (ability to withstand shocks) which will affect food security. A decrease in production may be accompanied by massive staff retrenchments leading to less food buying power for affected populations. Such an effect will undoubtedly be felt through the multiplier effect at national levels throughout the continent.
Although Fairtrade provides a safety net and significant support, much more is needed in order to help producers adapt to such challenges, according to Nokutula Mhene, COP17 Coordinator of Fairtrade Africa: “In order to address the looming crisis of food insecurity, an enabling policy environment that focuses on agriculture is needed. More specifically, an environment that is able to respond to the needs of vulnerable groups such as Fairtrade farmers in developing countries who are currently significant contributors to food security in their respective regions.”
For further information, please contact Nokutula Mhene - email@example.com
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Fair Trade USA’s decision to leave the Fairtrade system – Fairtrade Africa’s position
Nairobi, 30 September 2011 — Fairtrade Africa regrets the decision by Fair Trade USA to leave the international Fairtrade system. Fair Trade USA has decided to resign its membership of the Fairtrade International (FLO) system effective December 31, 2011. The organisation has unilaterally re-defined the goals and objectives of Fairtrade without consulting the millions of members of the International Fairtrade system, whose lives are affected by the international trading system. The decision by Fair Trade USA has obvious adverse impact for producers selling into the Fairtrade market in the USA.
Fairtrade Africa is the umbrella organisation of all Fairtrade certified producers across Africa. African small scale producers and workers have actively supported the international Fairtrade organisation and the FAIRTRADE Mark. Africa has the largest number of individual certified smallholders and workers benefiting from the Fairtrade system (over 600,000). African producers cultivate products such as cocoa, coffee and tea. These products are amongst the most traded and consumed commodities globally; however, as a result of unfair trading practices, the producers are marginalised. The global Fairtrade system has given producers a better life and a stake in the global Fairtrade system that enables them to participate in it as equal partners.
Therefore, Fairtrade Africa cannot share the parochial vision of Fair Trade USA. We believe that this decision is not in the interest of the many millions of small producers and workers across Africa and in developing countries.
Fairtrade Africa’s active and unwavering support for the FAIRTRADE Mark and system is based on the shared analysis of the entire Fairtrade movement that producers, particularly African small scale producers, have for decades been unfairly treated by the international trade system. Fairtrade Africa believes that global collective action is the only way to prevent continuous marginalisation of the millions of producers cultivating some of the world’s most loved primary commodities such as coffee, tea and cocoa. Needless to say that majority of these producers live on less than two US dollars per day.
The Fairtrade system and its work over the years has benefited African producers in the form of better producer organisations, improved collective bargaining power, fairer commodity prices and the opportunity to reduce exploitation by the global economic system and promote socio-economic development of farm families and communities.
Fairtrade Africa wishes to express total confidence in the international FAIRTRADE Mark and movement as the avenue to effect changes required to improve the lives of our members. Fairtrade Africa will continue to work with other members and stakeholders including consumers to broaden and deepen Fairtrade impact for disadvantaged producers and workers in Africa and globally.
For further information, please contact:
Veronique Verlinden, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read here the official statement of CAN, the association of the three Fairtrade Producer Networks.
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Cadbury Dairy Milk to go Fairtrade in South Africa: a totally African Affair
Nairobi, 7 June 2011 — Fairtrade is pleased to confirm today that Kraft Foods much-loved chocolate slab, Cadbury Dairy Milk [plain], is to become the first Fairtrade certified confectionery brand in South Africa. Slabs carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark are due to appear on shelf towards the end of the year.
“Cadbury Dairy Milk [plain] going Fairtrade in South Africa is a major breakthrough for the whole of the Fairtrade movement in Africa with the first ever Fairtrade chocolate slab made and sold in Africa. The Fairtrade cocoa is from West Africa and manufacturing is taking place in Port Elizabeth at Kraft Foods Cadbury factory,” says Michael Nkonu, Executive Director of Fairtrade Africa. “This intra-Africa trade on Fairtrade terms can effectively empower producers as it will enable them to improve their own lives and hence contribute to real, sustainable change in Africa.”
Fairtrade Africa represents over 500,000 African small-scale producers and farm workers supplying the international Fairtrade market in 23 countries. Until 2008, South Africa only exported Fairtrade products to Northern countries, mostly in Europe, but due to a growing demand for locally produced sustainable products Fairtrade decided to offer its products directly to African consumers, starting in South Africa. There are now 15 local wineries and one local coffee roaster selling Fairtrade labelled brands in the country and imported coffee, tea and sugar is available. Fairtrade products are currently available in Pick n Pay’s, Ultra Liquor stores, Spars and coffee shops. Apart from South Africa, Kenya is the second market in Africa where Fairtrade products can be found on the shelves in local shops.
“Fairtrade Africa is delighted that South Africa’s flagship chocolate brand is leading the way in taking Fairtrade mainstream in what is already one of the world’s largest Fairtrade-producing countries,” Michael Nkonu adds. “By establishing this all African cocoa supply chain, South Africans can enjoy their chocolate bar knowing it is a totally African affair. South Africans, who are showing increasing interest in issues of sustainability and the environment, are now, with Fairtrade, able to help support a system which tackles these challenges from the grower’s perspective.”
With Fairtrade, chocolate companies pay the guaranteed Fairtrade minimum price of US$2000 per tonne of cocoa beans or the current world market price, whichever is higher. The minimum price is based on the costs of production and aims to protect smallholders from the volatility of cocoa prices. The farmers’ groups also receive the Fairtrade Premium of US$200 per tonne, which they invest in social, environmental or economic projects that benefit their communities. FLO-CERT, the independent certification body for Fairtrade International, monitors and audits the supply chain against internationally agreed Fairtrade standards.
“We are very proud to be the first major business to achieve Fairtrade certification in this country. It demonstrates our commitment to fair practices and improved living standards for farmers and their communities,” says Mike Middleton, Marketing Director Kraft Foods SA. “By joining forces with Fairtrade, the two organisations can do more together to create a sustainable supply of high quality cocoa for Cadbury Dairy Milk [plain].”
Some 1.4m slabs of Cadbury Dairy Milk [plain] are sold in South Africa every year, making it the nation’s most popular chocolate brand. The chocolate slab’s first breakthrough into Fairtrade came in 2009 in the UK which has the most vibrant Fairtrade consumer market. Cadbury Dairy Milk has since converted to Fairtrade in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
All these switches to Fairtrade combined have already quadrupled the amount of cocoa sold under Fairtrade terms from Ghana, from 5,000 to 20,000 tonnes, earning farmers £2.7m of Fairtrade premiums (R29.70m). This has been used for a wide variety of activity including the purchase of farming equipment and setting up mobile health clinics in the remote rural areas where the cocoa farms are located.
Boudewijn Goossens of Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA), the national member of Fairtrade International, says: “We congratulate Kraft Foods SA for their leadership in being the first major business in South Africa, and the first in an ‘emerging market’ to recognise there is an appetite for Fairtrade among local consumers. With Cadbury Dairy Milk [plain] chocolates available in all major supermarkets, corner shops, petrol stations around the country, Fairtrade products will become available to all South Africans. That is so important because we all need to be able to contribute to a more sustainable world.”
Fairtrade around the world continues to buck the global economic trend with significant year-on-year increases in sales. In 2009, the last year for which full global figures are completed, Fairtrade certified sales amounted to approximately R33 billion worldwide, a 15 percent increase on R29 billion the year before. Although still a new market, estimated sales of Fairtrade products in South Africa are already showing spectacular growth, rising from R5.7 million in 2009 to R 18.4 million in 2010. In the UK, sales grew by over 40 percent to £1.17bn, the equivalent of R13.45bn.
For more information, please contact:
Eileen Maybin, Fairtrade Label South Africa press office, mobile +27736536913 or email email@example.com, www.fairtradelabel.co.za
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West Africa rises up to end $31.4 bn rich world cotton subsidies
Dakar, 10 February 2011 – High-level West African political leaders are joining forces with a broad coalition of African and South American smallholder and global farmer organisations to launch a huge new offensive demanding the phasing out and elimination of rich world trade distorting subsidies in cotton.
The release this week (Wednesday 9th February) at the World Social Forum of a new updated version of the Great Cotton Stitch-Up report by Fairtrade reveals that in the nine years since the Doha Development Round was launched in 2001, the United States and the European Union paid out a staggering USD 31.4 BILLION in subsidies to its farmers so squeezing out 10 million West African cotton farmers from trading their way out of poverty.
In addition, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) is also prioritising and upgrading the cotton subsidy issue and will shortly be unveiling its own offensive in Brussels as the European Parliament prepare to vote on the €55 billion Common Agricultural Policy reform in June.
2011 is a crucial year for the global trading system. This summer the European Parliament will begin reform of the €55 billion Common Agricultural Policy subsidy regime, the US Congress begin work in framing a new Farm Bill while attempts to revive the stalled Doha Development Round culminate in a World Trade Organisation Ministerial, expected in November.
Kwame Banson, Fairtrade Africa Regional Coordinator for West Africa, comments:
‘This is the crunch year for rich-world subsidies, with the EU and US at a genuine crossroad. One way leads to more misery for African farmers, the other to fairer way of doing trade. This coalition demands that they take the right path because African farmers can no longer be the casualties of the politics of the North.’
Moussa Doubia, Small-hold Malian Cotton Farmer, speaking of the impact of competing against subsidised cotton, adds:
‘Sometimes I can’t sleep. Sometimes it’s hard and unbearable… The cotton price is not enough for farmers to cover our needs including school fees and health.’
The report’s launch comes as Mali Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Ahmadou Abdoulaye Diallo confirmed his country is seriously considering taking the US to the WTO Disputes Panel Settlement over its USD 24.45 billion subsidies, potentially leading to retaliatory action against the US by suspending protection of US intellectual property. He also states Mali will veto the entire Doha Trade deal over the issue so further reigniting what is the most vivid example of trade injustice.
The Great Cotton Stitch-Up
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Fairtrade Africa supports producers in Ivory Coast
Nairobi, 4 February 2011 — Fairtrade Africa is very concerned about the on-going crisis in Ivory Coast. Our primary concern is for a rapid and peaceful resolution as small-scale farmers would be extremely hard hit if the situation in the country escalated. Fairtrade Africa does not support actions which might lead to a boycott of Ivoirian cocoa or which might prevent cocoa farmers from selling their cocoa during such difficult times, as we believe these will be more damaging for Ivoirians.
Since the presidential elections in November last year, when President Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to his opponent Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast has been on the brink of a new civil war. An escalation of the violence might affect the stability of the whole region, while Ivory Coast is still recovering from its last civil war (2002 – 2007) which killed thousands and misplaced hundreds of thousands Ivoirians.
The cocoa industry will be particularly hard hit if violence erupts. Cocoa is the country’s largest export, accounting for nearly 40% of the world’s total supply. Even in normal circumstances, the situation is quite difficult for the millions who earn their livelihood directly or indirectly from the commodity. The revenue that farmers and other Ivoirians earn from the trade is a lifeline to meet their daily needs. So far, the cocoa trade has luckily not been disrupted in a major way, according to Fairtrade producers on the ground.
Dago Fulbert, Managing Director of the Kavokiva Cooperative: ‘Immediately after the announcement of the results, some farmers stopped harvesting the cocoa because of outbreaks of conflicts between communities. During that time the volume of cocoa sold really declined. But two weeks later the situation stabilised and since then farmers have resumed their normal activities.’
In the meantime, campaigners have started up online petitions to put pressure on leading chocolate companies not to buy cocoa any longer from President Gbagbo to hurt his economic base. Fairtrade Africa is concerned that if this leads to a widespread boycott of cocoa from Ivory Coast it could exacerbate a very delicate political situation. Millions of Ivoirians make their living from the cocoa industry and need to continue to earn income to meet their basic daily needs, especially in these difficult times.
Fairtrade, which is the leading certifier in Ivory Coast, is monitoring the situation on the ground and keeps close contact with Fairtrade farmers in the region to offer assistance where possible. Although producers have been able to continue selling their cocoa despite the political tensions, the situation can escalate any moment. Fairtrade Africa supports any appropriate action by the international community to bring about peace and stability for all Ivoirians. Boycotts are a means to a political end, but are a blunt instrument that inflicts most suffering on the innocent.
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Fairtrade assists to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS on farms in Africa
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 1 December 2010 — Fairtrade Africa assists African farmers with HIV/AIDS and other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) to ensure they can continue working as long as their health permits.
HIV/AIDS and TB can act as a barrier to African success in global trade system by impeding producers’ ability to work due to ill-health. People with HIV/AIDS also need additional resources to afford treatment and to access healthcare for themselves and their families. Two-thirds of the approximately 33 million HIV-infected people globally reside in Africa’s resource-constrained countries. Access to healthcare for those living in rural areas is especially challenging due to long working hours and distance to healthcare facilities.
Through its international standards, including those related to health, worker ownership, empowerment and job creation, Fairtrade is assisting farm workers and their families to combat the negative effects of HIV/AIDS and TB in 25 African countries.
“Farmers receive a financial premium which is used for social investment projects. Some farms in the region use this to pay for healthcare workers and health facilities on the farm, or transport to the nearest clinic,” says Marcela Guerrero Casas, Policy and Advocacy Manager at Fairtrade Africa.
Fairtrade labour standards also protect HIV-positive workers, or those who are ill for prolonged periods, from discrimination and ensures job security. This encourages workers to know their health status and access treatment.
Fairtrade Africa is currently carrying out research to examine the impact of Fairtrade in Africa (predominantly in South Africa) on levels of HIV/AIDS awareness, testing and access to treatment. The findings will inform new measures to address HIV/AIDS and TB in Fairtrade farms.
“Producers in Africa are acutely aware of how HIV/AIDS can impact their ability to compete in the global market and are looking for ways to utilise the potential of the Fairtrade system to help deal with the problem in whatever way is most effective,” Marcela concludes.
Producers were meeting in Zimbabwe at the beginning of December to discuss ‘sustainable livelihoods’, including the impact of HIV/AIDS and TB.
For further information, please contact:
Marcela Guerrero Casas