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This little piece of paper is important. When a farmer delivers his/her coffee to the co-op, they receive a receipt and the co-op keeps a copy. At the end of the season the farmer collects his/her pay along with an extra bonus if the co-op made more on the sales of their coffee and the co-op receives the Fairtrade Premium on top of that. Co-op members decide democratically how best to use that for their community.

This little piece of paper is important. When a farmer delivers his/her coffee to the co-op, they receive a receipt and the co-op keeps a copy. At the end of the season the farmer collects his/her pay along with an extra bonus if the co-op made more on the sales of their coffee and the co-op receives the Fairtrade Premium on top of that. Co-op members decide democratically how best to use that for their community.

Seed to Cup: Coffee Training in India


imageDemonstrating leaf rot

Did you know that coffee is the second most important product after tea for Asian Fairtrade producers? Several Indian producers sold Fairtrade Robusta coffee for the first time in 2012. Now they are keen to offer quality coffee in 2013 too. At the Asia Pacific Coffee Forum for Fairtrade producers held last year in Indonesia, Indian producers identified training on coffee production and quality as one of the priority needs. This follow-up training session was one small but very significant move to help achieve that.

More than 40 farmers from three Fairtrade coffee co-ops met at a coffee research station in Wayanad District, Kerala to get trained by the Coffee Board Scientists on the theme “Seed to Cup.” 

Over the course of the day, various scientists gave farmers all kinds of information and tips. Mr Prakasan revealed that productivity in Kerala is below the national average and just half of the potential. Dr Suresh Kumar explained how simple interventions like timely pruning, grafting techniques and irrigation can vastly improve yields. Dr Vijayalakshmi talked of pests and diseases and informed the farmers of simple steps to ward them off. Mr George talked about post-harvesting techniques and highlighted how bad practices in drying and storage influence coffee quality. Outturn of coffee, some bad practices like excessive pruning, requirement of shade etc were also covered during the discussion.

Every farmer took something different out of the session. Annakutty liked the information provided on pests and diseases, while Sudha emphasized the relevance of grafting techniques to the farmers. George was particularly keen to organize a training for his farmers on post harvest techniques. Vineesh hoped that this training is only a beginning and talked of a more frequent training from the coffee board. All the farmers groups were keen to take up the offer to get their soil tested by the coffee board, and to receive their recommendations for nutrient application.

The organic farmers pointed out some shortcomings like lack of suitable information for mixed cropping systems and not enough stress on organic farming research. There is always room for improvement!


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As the aroma of South Indian filter coffee filled the air, a drizzle brought the curtain down on the program. Meanwhile, I mentally started scheduling more coffee trainings in 2013 to benefit more farmers….

Raju Ganapathy is a Fairtrade liaison officer in India, supporting farmers to join and benefit from Fairtrade.

Another climate conference ends - what results for smallholders?

I travelled to Doha with Fairtrade producer representatives from four different regions, all struggling with climate change on a daily basis. For them, the lack of progress at this year’s talks was bemusing, and frustrating.

“I am disappointed because we have put so much hope in finance and they are not making a decision, said Chief Adam Tampuri, a cashew nut producer and Chair of Fairtrade Africa. “I am surprised that the countries who have often helped us in times of disaster and famine are still hesitating to make finance for climate adaptation available. Surely we need to be engaging in preventative measures, instead of reacting when the damage is done?”

On a political level, little came out of the Doha talks to offer farmers or developing countries any cheer. There were no commitments from developed countries to cut their emissions further. There is still no significant money being put on the table to help developing countries adapt (despite a target of $100 billion a year by 2020). Even the impassioned plea of the Philippines negotiator, made as his country was battered by the umpteenth typhoon this year, did not lead to a shift in mind-set.

But away from the disappointment of the negotiations, there are many initiatives that give cause for hope.


At side events, in interviews and at round-table discussions, Fairtrade producers brought their real-life climate change experiences to the table. Tomy Mathew explained how fair prices for a whole range of Fairtrade products mean that farmers diversify, protecting variety and increasing their resilience to climate change. Carlos Vargas spoke passionately about the huge potential for hydroelectricity on coffee farms in Costa Rica, and his dream of making them all energy self-sufficient. Chief Adam shared the indigenous methods his cashew farmers are using to adapt to climate change. Each has a vision for their community and country. Each of them is connected to thousands of farmers and people in their villages and in their communities. If they just had some more cash and technical assistance they would implement measures in a shot. 

Our new collaboration with The Gold Standard Foundation will give these producers welcome opportunities to benefit from the carbon market, and access finance that will help them carry out more carbon mitigation projects. We also secured backing from a group of European politicians in our call for more adaptation funds for smallholders.

And though this COP is over, our engagement certainly isn’t. We will continue to lobby governments, seek adaptation and mitigation finance and support our farmers in the fight against climate change.

Vicky Pauschert works in the communications department at Fairtrade International.

See more photos, posts and videos of Fairtrade’s activities at COP18

Progress is incredibly slow at the UN climate talks right now. Smallholder farmers don’t have time to wait - they have to act now to secure their livelihoods. Tomy Mathew of Fair Trade Alliance Kerala in India explains how Fairtrade helps farmers to deal with climate change.

Fairtrade farmers in Kerala are growing a diverse array of spices, coffee and coconuts all on the same small farm, ensuring that they are more resilient to the effects of the changing climate.

Fairtrade producers interviewed at UN climate talks

Nasser Abufarha, of Canaan Fair Trade describes how climate change is worsening the situation for Palestine’s already vulnerable olive oil and almond farmers.

Fungus diseases and extremely hot summer temperatures meant the olive harvest this year dropped by 50%.

Can Fairtrade support these farmers in situations like this? Watch this video and find out!

This interview is one of a series carried out with Fairtrade producers at the UN climate change talks (COP18). More to come in the next few days!

Fairtrade producer representatives met European parliamentarians at the climate change convention in Doha yesterday, and urged them to get the voice of small farmers heard in the climate change talks before time runs out.

Tomy Mathew, Chief Adam Tampuri and Noel Oettle told MEPs: we are bitterly disappointed that agriculture has been taken off the UNFCCC agenda and that small farmers’ concerns are being largely ignored. Funding has to be made available so producers can take action fast to deal with the effects of climate change – not just at UNFCCC level, but also in the current EU budget planning for 2014-20. If leaders are serious about tackling poverty and food security, they have to address climate change too.

The message came across loud and clear- The MEPs present gave Fairtrade producers their wholehearted support and want to take the issue to their fellow parliamentarians and support the small farmer cause. Let’s hope the message really gets through to the rest of the European delegation, and to the COP18 negotiating table!

Read more of our posts from the COP18 climate change talks here.

I dream of a reality that in ten years’ time I will see a spectacular beautiful healthy forest. And perhaps this will be an example to other places.

Pablo Roma, living in Choco village, a Fairtrade coffee growing community in Peru

Thanks to a partnership with 100% Fair Trade organization Cafédirect, these villagers are planting trees, reforesting their area and earning carbon credits in the process – vital cash to carry out more projects. Watch the full story in this fantastic Cafédirect video.

We hope our new collaboration with carbon credit certifier, The Gold Standard Foundation, will make lots of projects similar to this possible in future!

Fairtrade farmer and Chair of Fairtrade Africa, Chief Adam Tampuri speaking at a COP18 side event.

In my village we are feeling the effects of the changing climate. We are seeing strange pests we have never seen before. Just before I came here I lost 50 cashew trees on my farm due to storms, and there is more flooding throughout the year.  We used part of our Fairtrade Premium to embark on some adaptation projects such as acquiring drought resistant seedlings and renovating our houses and roofs to deal with the deluge of rainwater. We have come so far and implemented so much in our village since we became Fairtrade certified.  We don’t want to see it all washed away by the rain.


At COP18, 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. Read their statement here

Fairtrade farmer and Chair of Fairtrade Africa, Chief Adam Tampuri speaking at a COP18 side event.

In my village we are feeling the effects of the changing climate. We are seeing strange pests we have never seen before. Just before I came here I lost 50 cashew trees on my farm due to storms, and there is more flooding throughout the year.  We used part of our Fairtrade Premium to embark on some adaptation projects such as acquiring drought resistant seedlings and renovating our houses and roofs to deal with the deluge of rainwater. We have come so far and implemented so much in our village since we became Fairtrade certified.  We don’t want to see it all washed away by the rain.

At COP18, 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. Read their statement here

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.

On the eve of COP18, Fairtrade producers networks call for more support to adapt to the very real effects of climate change on their livelihoods.

Read the full statement here.

A delegation of Fairtrade producers and staff are heading to Doha for the climate change conference to make farmers’ voices heard in the debate. See an overview of our events, and join us there!

Sweet Success and Sugary too!!
Raju Ganapathy, a Fairtrade Liaison officer, reports on a sweet Fairtrade success story in India.

I came to Dharwar, a small city, overnight from Bangalore, the buzzling capital of Karnataka. For the first time I conducted a group training on Fairtrade for the representatives of seven sugar producer organizations.

Fairtrade sugar is pretty new to India. These seven producers got inspired to join Fairtrade through the Khadrolli Primary Agriculture Credit Cooperative Sangha, the first Indian sugar producer to gain Fairtrade certification, back in 2010. They were already organic certified, giving them a stepping stone to progress to Fairtrade.  In addition, their trader and exporter, Pure Life has provided them with good organizational assistance.

In 2011 Khadrolli cooperative received an amazing Fairtrade Premium of 110,000 Euros from the sale of 2318 MT of sugar. No wonder the farmers extolled the virtues of the program when I asked them about their views on Fairtrade.

Bhartesh Patil was clear that “Fairtrade certification, by providing premium, strongly supports our organic intervention.” Kandu added that “Fairtrade certification provides an opportunity to create a brand name for both the Pure Life and the sugar producers on the international market.”

The next day I was able to visit Khadrolli society to see first-hand how they have used their Premium. They showed me the tractor they have purchased, along with the chaff cutter machine, which will help them to turn harvest waste into organic compost.

The society has also supplied farmers with a kit of state of the art bio-fertilizers. One of the farmers, Irappa, enthusiastically listed the benefits : wider girth, taller crop and greener sugarcane. Two other farmers, Subhash and Hammanavar, reported that this organic manure completely substitutes any chemical fertilizers, savings cost, labor and time. As I was leaving I asked Mr Gambol their manager to track sugar content in the coming harvest to see if it also increased as a result. I wound up my trip happier that Fairtrade had brought some tangible positive results to this farming community.

Sugar Farmers put Jamaica on the Fairtrade Map

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By Eileen Maybin, Head of Media Relations, Fairtrade Foundation

There are not many good news stories in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated large portions of the Caribbean and North-eastern United States at the end of last month. But one that is exciting for us here at the Foundation is that Worthy Park Cane Farmer Branch Association, a small-scale sugarcane farmers’ organisation, became the first ever Fairtrade certified group in Jamaica this week.

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