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Showing posts tagged “producer”

Meet Kady Waylie, the Fairtrade cotton farmer pictured on the front cover of our new 2012-13 Annual Report: Unlocking the Power.
Kady is one of West Africa’s 10 million cotton farmers. She and her family grow their own food, but their cash comes from growing cotton. The farmers’ group in Kady’s village in Senegal began to see benefits of Fairtrade with training courses they were given, to produce better quality cotton, to get higher yields, to improve health and safety. When it came to harvest time, they are paid a guaranteed price for their produce, above the market price. And the farmers’ group is also paid the Fairtrade Premium – that the group decides what to do with, men and women together.The Premium has been used in Senegal to help build and furnish schools, and to buy packs of stationery, books and schoolbags for students. Some has gone on projects for clean drinking water. Some has been spent helping build and equip clinics, and to train villagers in health care and midwifery. The processes involved have made groups of cotton farmers stronger and more able to look after their own interests, to deal with government officials, to engage with other groups. In short, to unlock the power that they hold when they work together to drive change. But it’s not all good news. Kady’s cooperative, and many others, are desperate to sell more of their cotton on Fairtrade terms. Their Fairtrade sales have been low for the past couple of years. As part of our 2013-15 strategy, Unlocking the Power of the Many, we’re developing new ways of working in cotton, and also in cocoa and sugar, to drive the sales that producers are looking for. Read more about our achievements over the past year and our first steps to unlock the power of the many in our new 2012-13 Annual Report.© Photo and text used with kind permission of Sean Hawkey

Meet Kady Waylie, the Fairtrade cotton farmer pictured on the front cover of our new 2012-13 Annual Report: Unlocking the Power.

Kady is one of West Africa’s 10 million cotton farmers. She and her family grow their own food, but their cash comes from growing cotton.

The farmers’ group in Kady’s village in Senegal began to see benefits of Fairtrade with training courses they were given, to produce better quality cotton, to get higher yields, to improve health and safety.

When it came to harvest time, they are paid a guaranteed price for their produce, above the market price. And the farmers’ group is also paid the Fairtrade Premium – that the group decides what to do with, men and women together.

The Premium has been used in Senegal to help build and furnish schools, and to buy packs of stationery, books and schoolbags for students. Some has gone on projects for clean drinking water. Some has been spent helping build and equip clinics, and to train villagers in health care and midwifery.

The processes involved have made groups of cotton farmers stronger and more able to look after their own interests, to deal with government officials, to engage with other groups. In short, to unlock the power that they hold when they work together to drive change.

But it’s not all good news. Kady’s cooperative, and many others, are desperate to sell more of their cotton on Fairtrade terms. Their Fairtrade sales have been low for the past couple of years. As part of our 2013-15 strategy, Unlocking the Power of the Many, we’re developing new ways of working in cotton, and also in cocoa and sugar, to drive the sales that producers are looking for.

Read more about our achievements over the past year and our first steps to unlock the power of the many in our new 2012-13 Annual Report.

© Photo and text used with kind permission of Sean Hawkey

…And now Fairtrade Saffron from Iran

After three years of patient preparation and collaboration between importers, traders and farmers: Saffron and Iran are on the Fairtrade map!

Saffron is derived from the dried stigmas of the purple saffron flower. Anything from 60,000 to 250,000 flowers (weighing around 100 kilos!) are needed to make just one kilogram of dried saffron. The flowers are individually harvested by hand and it takes at least forty hours’ labour to pick 150,000 flowers. No wonder it’s the most expensive spice in the world.

Around 85% of global saffron exports come from Iran. Production of the exotic spice is a real family affair. Every family member is involved in some way, whether it be harvesting, extracting fresh stigmas, hygienic drying, or processing and packaging. And that means each family is utterly dependent on the crop for their income. They have to produce good quality, and they have to find a buyer. This makes them very vulnerable to the whims of the market.

But thanks to a unique collaboration between importers, a processor, saffron producer families and Fairtrade, this is about to change.
In 2010, importers VARISTOR and Antonio Pina Diaz teamed up with the Global Saffron Company and Fairtrade field staff to support 40 saffron producer families in forming their own cooperative. It was a long process but  “Arghavan Dasht e Paeezan” co-op was finally legally registered  in October 2012 and, following a successful Fairtrade audit, has now become the world’s first Fairtrade certified saffron producer organization.

The farmers already have high expectations about the impact Fairtrade can have on their lives:

 “We expect it will enable us to raise the level of mechanization on our farms, which in turn will help us increase production. Farmers who have small pieces of land can learn to use modern technology effectively, by participating in training programs. We will then be able to improve our production and increase our annual income”.

When asked what Fairtrade Premium projects/activities they hope to develop, they told us:

“The Fairtrade Premium from the sale of our saffron will create a great sense of motivation and encouragement to us farmers. Projects such as purchasing appropriate cloth, hygienic gloves and proper tools for all members of the cooperative will enable us to perform better while further improving the quality of our saffron.   Another major project is to convert to organic farming practices, so we can produce organic saffron which is in demand from consumers”.

Arghavan Dasht e Paeezan’s Fairtrade saffron will soon be on sale in Switzerland.

If you are interested in sourcing Fairtrade saffron, please contact Sumedha Karunatillake: s.karunatillake-external@fairtrade.net

Sports clubs, computer literacy training, crèches, a leadership training camp…Bosman wine estate’s Fairtrade project report makes for impressive reading! All these projects were organized by the Joint Body: a committee made up of workers and management on Fairtrade estates and plantations, which manages the Fairtrade Premium money and consults with their fellow workers on the best way to spend it.One particularly interesting initiative is a gardening competition: Workers compete for prizes for best ornamental garden and best food garden. As well as creating a sense of pride in their homes and community, the competition also helps the workers to grow their own fruit and vegetables and become more self-sufficient. The winners receive vouchers for the local garden centre, or gardening equipment to spruce up their gardens further.Cilmor wine estate’s Joint Body travelled to Bosman’s to get inspiration for their own Fairtrade projects…and they certainly weren’t disappointed. They came away with many new ideas to share with their fellow workers and a much broader view of what is possible with a committed and hard-working Joint Body.Read more about the Cilmor exchange visit here.

Sports clubs, computer literacy training, crèches, a leadership training camp…Bosman wine estate’s Fairtrade project report makes for impressive reading!

All these projects were organized by the Joint Body: a committee made up of workers and management on Fairtrade estates and plantations, which manages the Fairtrade Premium money and consults with their fellow workers on the best way to spend it.

One particularly interesting initiative is a gardening competition: Workers compete for prizes for best ornamental garden and best food garden. As well as creating a sense of pride in their homes and community, the competition also helps the workers to grow their own fruit and vegetables and become more self-sufficient. The winners receive vouchers for the local garden centre, or gardening equipment to spruce up their gardens further.

Cilmor wine estate’s Joint Body travelled to Bosman’s to get inspiration for their own Fairtrade projects…and they certainly weren’t disappointed. They came away with many new ideas to share with their fellow workers and a much broader view of what is possible with a committed and hard-working Joint Body.

Read more about the Cilmor exchange visit here.

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Malin Olofsson, Fairtrade liaison officer in South Africa joins Fairtrade wine producers on a journey of discovery….

 “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Exchange visits are a great way of involving producers in a more active approach to learning. To see what other farms have achieved and to learn from their struggles, mistakes and achievements is an invaluable experience.

Workers from Cilmor wine farm in South Africa were recently able to benefit from such a visit. Having been inspired by stories from other Fairtrade farms at a workshop, they wanted to go and see their projects first-hand. So they planned it into their budget, and I happily accompanied them on their trip!

First stop was Fairhills, another wine farm in the Western Cape. They shared about their many various projects to date, giving details about the process and challenges along the way. What was most interesting for the Cilmor group was to find out just how much support, both in cash and in kind, they have being able to leverage as a result of being Fairtrade certified. By approaching individual retailers and government departments they have received funding for specific projects such as a library, computer centre and building a primary school. This means they can use their Fairtrade Premium income to fund the day-to-day running of the projects.

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They have even been able to hire a psychologist and set up a rehabilitation programme: a really valuable investment for a community where alcoholism is rife. This approach left the Cilmor visitors with much food for thought.

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!

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

Sugar Farmers put Jamaica on the Fairtrade Map

fairtradeblog:

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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Take good care of the producers. Know your product. Improve its quality. Ask your father for advice. Protect the environment. Get closer to the customer. Talk to each other.These are the rules of thumb for Coopervitae, a group of Fairtrade coffee producers in Brazil. To find out what putting all those pieces together means in practice, read their full story.
Pictured: Coopervitae member Vagner Bombonato de Lima. The knowledge he’s got from the co-op (and his dad!) means he’s confident of the quality of his coffee.
Photo by Didier Gentilhomme

Take good care of the producers. Know your product. Improve its quality. Ask your father for advice. Protect the environment. Get closer to the customer. Talk to each other.

These are the rules of thumb for Coopervitae, a group of Fairtrade coffee producers in Brazil. To find out what putting all those pieces together means in practice, read their full story.

Pictured: Coopervitae member Vagner Bombonato de Lima. The knowledge he’s got from the co-op (and his dad!) means he’s confident of the quality of his coffee.

Photo by Didier Gentilhomme


We have knowledge now and this is essential. We have new contacts, new business partners, we have seen the outside world.

Wilson Pedroso Lima is a Fairtrade coffee farmer at UNIPASV cooperative in Brazil, and features on the front cover of our new Annual Report. Here he tells his story.
I’ve been working in the coffee fields for the past 12 years. I used to be a tenant, but three years ago I bought my plot. I was born and raised in the countryside. I have a son aged 17 and a daughter who is 11. The boy works with me. He likes to work in the field.I am a founding member of UNIPASV cooperative. When the cooperative was created, 70 percent of members were tenants and sharecroppers. Today, after 10 years, everyone owns their own plots. This has happened to people who had nothing.I started producing Fairtrade coffee a year ago. We produced 40 bags as Fairtrade and almost all of them were sold. The cooperative uses the Fairtrade Premium money for social benefits as well as for the cooperative. We renovated and expanded the office, bought a farm vehicle, built a garage, and have offered more comfort to the members.What has changed in my life and the lives of people here? I think that we have knowledge and this is essential. We have new contacts, new business partners, we have seen the outside world. I never imagined that me, a farmer from the South of Minas, would be able to travel to another country. We have learnt things about coffee too. Sometimes you might think you already know everything about coffee, but a consumer can teach us, give us ideas to improve the taste, the flavour. We thought coffee was the same everywhere, but it’s not. I also discovered coffee from other countries too.I would like to say to consumers out there that we Brazilian farmers are producing a good quality product. We produce our coffee now with the awareness that we need to care for people’s health. Today I use 70 percent less pesticides than before, and production has increased. With this knowledge we can produce more and spend less.I hope in future I can continue living and working here, living off the coffee fields, because it is not easy. I hope my children can study, which I could not do. I hope everything works out, we’re trying. Surely I see my son working here. I’m doing this for him; we are opening the opportunities for him to work here in the future.
This photo was taken in June 2012.  © Didier Gentilhomme. 
Download the Fairtrade International 2011-12 Annual Report here.

We have knowledge now and this is essential. We have new contacts, new business partners, we have seen the outside world.

Wilson Pedroso Lima is a Fairtrade coffee farmer at UNIPASV cooperative in Brazil, and features on the front cover of our new Annual Report. Here he tells his story.

I’ve been working in the coffee fields for the past 12 years. I used to be a tenant, but three years ago I bought my plot. I was born and raised in the countryside. I have a son aged 17 and a daughter who is 11. The boy works with me. He likes to work in the field.

I am a founding member of UNIPASV cooperative. When the cooperative was created, 70 percent of members were tenants and sharecroppers. Today, after 10 years, everyone owns their own plots. This has happened to people who had nothing.

I started producing Fairtrade coffee a year ago. We produced 40 bags as Fairtrade and almost all of them were sold. The cooperative uses the Fairtrade Premium money for social benefits as well as for the cooperative. We renovated and expanded the office, bought a farm vehicle, built a garage, and have offered more comfort to the members.

What has changed in my life and the lives of people here? I think that we have knowledge and this is essential. We have new contacts, new business partners, we have seen the outside world. I never imagined that me, a farmer from the South of Minas, would be able to travel to another country. We have learnt things about coffee too. Sometimes you might think you already know everything about coffee, but a consumer can teach us, give us ideas to improve the taste, the flavour. We thought coffee was the same everywhere, but it’s not. I also discovered coffee from other countries too.

I would like to say to consumers out there that we Brazilian farmers are producing a good quality product. We produce our coffee now with the awareness that we need to care for people’s health. Today I use 70 percent less pesticides than before, and production has increased. With this knowledge we can produce more and spend less.

I hope in future I can continue living and working here, living off the coffee fields, because it is not easy. I hope my children can study, which I could not do. I hope everything works out, we’re trying. Surely I see my son working here. I’m doing this for him; we are opening the opportunities for him to work here in the future.

This photo was taken in June 2012. © Didier Gentilhomme.

Download the Fairtrade International 2011-12 Annual Report here.


Hardeep Singh, President of Shahdevpur Village Club/Sunstar Rice in North India, pictured with his wife Anrandeep and relative, Shanti.


After joining the Fairtrade programme we had a better quality of inputs, such as seed and fertilizers. And the Fairtrade Premium enabled us to build this beautiful road which means we can access the farms much more easily. We got a better market price, plus an organic bonus of 400 rupees per 100 kg. The rice is also collected straight from our house; we don’t have to go to the market to sell it any more.

Before joining Fairtrade the quality of the groups rice wasn’t high. One reason for this was that they used rice from the previous harvest to plant as seed for the next year, which resulted in low quality yields. Now Sunstar provides them with the inputs each year on an interest free loan.

The Shahdevpur Village Club used part of its Fairtrade Premium to build an access road to the rice fields and to set up an organic composting unit. Sunstar has its own organic seed production to produce better quality seeds. In the future Hardeep his village would like to use the Fairtrade Premium to build a computer centre for the children.

© Didier Gentilhomme

A sweet trip to the capital of honey – Part 1

In an area of widespread poverty thirty five beekeepers got together in 1994 and founded the association COASBA. During Liaison Officer Ingrid Allende’s visit, the cooperative celebrated its general assembly, where they chose the new board. The election was a chance to talk about what the producers think about their organization and their reasons for becoming a cooperative.

COASBA - Cooperativa Apicola Santa Bárbara - is located in the city of Santa Bárbara, a city that was declared the capital of honey in Chile. Being Fairtrade certified beekeepers is a matter of pride for their members, as the sign outside their cooperative shows:



Orgullosos productores de miel certificada Cormecio Justo Fairtrade - Proud producers of honey certified by Fairtrade.

The most obvious benefit of Fairtrade for COASBA is better incomes for the producers. Since joining Fairtrade the beekeepers are earning 20% more for their honey. Each COASBA member has a regular guaranteed income, which enables them to plan.

The Fairtrade Premium is also an important incentive for the partners. COASBA has invested some of the Premium in improving production processes and for administration, which has created several new jobs. COASBA also has built its own processing facilities and has improved the people’s standard of living. In a region where rural poverty is widespread, family finances are far better than before. Crucially, the younger generation can see a future in beekeeping and in running a coop, rather than joining the exodus of young rural unemployed to the bigger towns and cities. COASBA also recently began to provide advisory services for local beekeepers outside the coop, along with programmes in basic beekeeping for the local municipality.

More to come on COASBA soon….

Fairtrade Mends Bridges to Fill your Teacup

Amos Thiong’o, Regional Coordinator at Fairtrade Africa, had a tough journey to visit Kayonze tea estate in Uganda. But what he saw when he got there more than made up for it, as he reports in this piece.

Kayonza Growers Tea Factory is one of the four Fairtrade certified tea producers’ organizations in Uganda. The beautiful cooperative is located in the Kanungu district, in Western Uganda, close by the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

I visited the Kayonza at a time when the area had received extremely high rainfall. A major bridge linking the district to the rest of Uganda had been swept away. Before embarking on my journey, I inquired how long it would take me. A smiley hotel receptionist informed me that instead of 1.5 hours the journey would now take four times as long, using roads not worthy of the name. To cut a long story short; the journey was not for the weak hearted. It took us more than 6 hours, driving through the beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park, on wild animal tracks, often passing through swollen streams.

However, on arrival to Kayonza I totally forgot all the travails. A most welcoming Marcel Asiimwe, the general manager, and his team were at hand to receive me. I was housed in a beautiful small guest house located in the centre of a tea estate. The breathtaking view lifted all weariness away.

Kayonza Growers Tea Factory has been Fairtrade certified since 1998, making it one of the oldest holders of Fairtrade certification in Africa. The factory, which prides itself for having one of the best quality teas in the country, is owned by over 600 small-scale tea farmers. On more than one occasion tea producers from the DRC have applied to join Kayonza but complications of cross border trading prevent the collaboration.

Fairtrade certification has enabled Kayonza to improve its governance and leadership structure. Last year the factory received a grant from Fairtrade Africa to fund IT training for its management and staff.

‘We are gradually modernising our operating systems and procedures,’ attests Human Resources Manager Jotham Musinguzi. ‘The training has been instrumental to improve our services to our members and customers.’

In the 1990s, a key challenge for Kayonza farmers was to deliver green leaf to the factory during the rainy season. Many farmers lost their lives trying to cross the swollen streams in the valley. Using Fairtrade Premiums, the farmers started constructing bridges on all feeder roads leading to the factory. The bridges have provided a massive boost to the region, ensuring the Kayonza factory distinguishes itself as a supplier of high quality tea across the world.


Fairtrade Africa represents African producers in the global Fairtrade system to ensure that Fairtrade standards and policy reflect their needs. Fairtrade Africa also provides prodcuers with technical, organisational and financial support. Find out more at www.fairtradeafrica.net.

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