Alina Amador (right) is a Project Manager in Fairtrade International’s Pricing Unit. This year she ran into Soonthorn Sritawee, from Blue River Products, while at an organic foods trade show. Sritawee is an exporter from Thailand who works closely with lychee producers in Thailand
One of the core features of Fairtrade is pricing – while we don’t set final prices, we do create Fairtrade Minimum Prices by calculating the average sustainable costs of production. This can serve as a starting point for negotiations when prices are higher and protection when the market is low.
In 2013, a group of small lychee producers in North Thailand banded together to create what is called a community enterprise in Thailand so they could become Fairtrade certified . The farmers worked with Blue River Products, their manufacturer/exporter partner, which is also the key market link to bring their canned lychee to the Swiss market.
At the time of the group’s application, Fairtrade pricing was only available for lychee from Eastern Africa. We worked with the group to determine if the same Minimum Prices could apply for lychee from other areas. This project involved communication between the pricing team and the producers and manufacturers to gain more knowledge on the supply chain, the local market conditions and prices for fresh lychee. This information assured us that an extension of the existing prices from Eastern Africa was suitable for the Thai market as well.
While at a conference this year, I met up with Soonthorn Sritawee (pictured) from Blue River Products, and he had exciting news. Our fruitful cooperation resulted in new market opportunities for next years´ harvest and the organization has at least one container of lychees destined for the European market – a purchase that will make a big difference for his community.