This is a 47 per cent increase on the previous year and over 1.5 million producers and workers in 58 developing countries now benefit from sales in the sector.
Growth can be seen across all categories, but one of the most impressive categories was juices where sales have almost quadrupled. Also sugar has doubled and bananas have increased by 72 per cent.
Coffee continued to grow steadily with an increase of 19 per cent. Fairtrade cotton farmers have also seen demand for their produce more than double in just one year. During 2007, the sales of items made out of certified cotton, ranging from cotton wool to jeans and towels, surpassed 14 million individual items.
The climb is the result of the expansion in existing markets and the opening of new ones. The value of sales in Fairtrade’s biggest markets, the UK and US, grew by 72 per cent and 46 per cent respectively.
Sweden and Norway were home to the fastest growing markets for Fairtrade with increases of 166 per cent and 110 per cent respectively. The highest per capita consumption in the world was in Switzerland where consumers spent ï¿½£16.5m on Fairtrade products in 2007.
New products were launched in different markets increasing the choice available to consumers. Fairtrade Austria introduced Fairtrade fresh fruits. In Canada, wine from South Africa was introduced. Fairtrade Flowers were launched in Italy, Sweden and the USA. In Australia, Austria, Germany, Italy and New Zealand, the first cotton products were available
Another market development for 2007 was that companies in countries where there is no Fairtrade labelling initiative were able to sell products bearing the certification mark for the first time. Despite growing by an average of 40 per cent per year, over the last six years, there is still room for further growth.
Raymond Kimaro, Chairman of the African Fairtrade Network (AFN), the association which represents African Fairtrade certified producers, said: “The increased sales is great news for our members. The premium has enabled members to build new schools, provide clean water and improve health for their communities.
“However more is needed. Poverty remains the major challenge for producers in Africa. Some groups are still selling just a small percentage of their produce to Fairtrade. It is crucial to grow the Fairtrade market so that these producers can benefit more from sales.”
Rob Cameron, Chief Executive Officer of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, told the News: “The phenomenal growth of Fairtrade demonstrates the groundswell of consumer support for Fairtrade.
“For producers, Fairtrade represents the difference between just surviving, and their ability to invest in their present and plan for their future.
“But we are not complacent. We must grow the market further if we are to expand and deepen the impact for producers.”