Fairtrade supports marginalised farmers and workers, enabling them to build a better and more secure life for themselves, their co-workers and their families.
Fairtrade is about creating a real, positive difference in people’s lives, from the farmers and workers growing crops and producing raw materials, right through the supply chain to the place where you buy the end product.
What is this difference we speak of? Well, we’re glad you asked!
In 2014 the purchase of Fairtrade products by people like you, together with the support of businesses working with Fairtrade, made all sorts of change possible…
Making a difference - economically
Because it guarantees a Minimum Price for what they farm, Fairtrade is helping growers of cocoa, coffee, tea and other crops, to have more financial security - making them less vulnerable to poverty. In many cases, Fairtrade certification enables farmers to negotiate a higher price for their product than the conventional market price.
Additional income earned through the Fairtrade Premium is often used to support better farming practices to improve crops and soil. It enables farmers to invest in strengthening their businesses, improving their local communities and to plan for the future.
Making a difference - socially
Investment of the Fairtrade Premium in community development projects like improved health facilities, access to education for children and adults, and sources of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation, is improving the quality of lives of people in rural communities. This, combined with support in deepening gender equality sees farmers and workers who choose to participate in Fairtrade feel a real sense of control over their future, with greater power and voice.
Making a difference - to the environment
Fairtrade provides real support to farmers and workers so that the environment can be protected. We help farmers adapt to the world’s changing climate, supporting long-term and positive ways of dealing with unpredictable weather patterns. Fairtrade Standards also regulate substances used in farming, including pesticides and other chemicals. Waste management is another vital concern in an all-round mission to care for the natural world.
So what does all this look like in the lives of farmers, workers and their communities? Here’s one example.
Coffee-farming community Keto Tapasi, is an association of 3000 farmers in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The members have seen many benefits since they began selling their high quality coffee beans on the Fairtrade market in 2010.
The organisation comprises of farmers from eighteen villages and eight clan groups. They come from different tribes and speak different languages. What unites them is a belief in high standards and their satisfaction in seeing the benefits from Fairtrade reach more than 4,500 people in the local community.
In its first year as part of Fairtrade, Keto Tapasi sold 8.5 metric tonnes of green bean coffee to its exporter, Monpi Coffee Exports. By the end the following year that quantity had increased to 42.7 metric tonnes, with this figure continuing to increase every year since.
Keto Tapasi has used funds from the Fairtrade Premium it has earned to acquire 11 new coffee pulpers to help with a vital part of processing. The farmers have built a new warehouse to store the coffee and have been able to hire a vehicle to transport their coffee from members’ coffee gardens to the processing mill increasing productivity and outputs.
The farmers are planning to invest future Fairtrade Premium funds in tackling the high levels of illiteracy among adults — the result of the very long distances to the nearest schools and the price it costs to attend. This investment will mean it will soon be possible for a far greater amount of community members to have a formal education.
The organisation also has plans in place to improve on the current health services available to them: by increasing medical supplies and generating greater awareness of the risks of HIV and AIDS and how best to manage the conditions.