Farmers increase income through Fairtrade lobby

Fairtrade International Board Chair Lynnette Thorstense (left), FI Global CEO Sandra Uwera and Executive Director Isaac Tongola. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Sustainable trade lobby Fairtrade International says it helped farmers around earn Sh6 billion more during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Representing more than one million farmers across 28 countries in Africa and the Middle East, Fairtrade advocates for better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers around the world with a focus on lower income countries.

“Our 627 producer organisations received €49.8 million (Sh6.1 billion) in Fairtrade premium in 2020 further broken down into 55 per cent earned by cocoa producers, 14 per cent by flower producers, nine per cent by coffee producers and six per cent by banana producers,” said Fairtrade in the ‘State of Farmer and Workers Trends and Impact, Globally and in Africa’ report for June 2022.

Another four per cent was earned by tea producers, three per cent by sugar producers and three per cent by grape producers.

By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must not fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade attempts to address the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against producers from low-income countries.

The lobby works with small-scale producer organisations across the globe including farming cooperatives to champion standards that contribute to environmental sustainability.

The Faitrade base wage is set at a minimum of 70 per cent of the take-home pay needed for a living wage which has been established by the Global Living Wage Coalition applying in more than 30 countries.

In a recent panel conversation convened under the Fairtrade International General Assembly in Nairobi, Fairtrade Global CEO Sandra Uwera said the lobby was committed to leveraging people and organisation engagement to expand impact.

“Faitrade is an enabler to farmers and workers in developing countries to secure better livelihoods through tackling the injustices of the global value chain. Farmers and workers are embedded in all levels of our governance and decision-making.”

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