Fairtrade helps 1.24 million farmers and workers

The number of Fairtrade certified producer organisations has increased by 10 per cent since the end of 2010, a report by Fairtrade International revealed yesterday (29 January).

The number of Fairtrade certified producer organisations has increased by 10 per cent since the end of 2010, a report by Fairtrade International revealed yesterday (29 January).

‘Monitoring the Scope and Benefits of Fairtrade 2012’, a compendium of data exploring the impacts of Fairtrade, showed there were 991 Fairtrade certified producer organisations, an increase of 86 since 2010.

Peru has the largest number of Fairtrade producer organisations, followed by Colombia. However, the largest net growth in the number of Fairtrade producer organisations was in Africa – particularly sugar co-operatives in Mauritius and cocoa co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire—and in India.

In 2011, Fairtrade organisations in three new countries were certified. These included eight sugar co-operatives in Guyana; a co-operative of farmers growing wine grapes in Lebanon; and a farmer organisation producing cherries and almonds in Uzbekistan.

The report also revealed the total number of famers and workers in the Fairtrade system increased by 13 per cent between 2010 and 2011 and the total number of small-scale farmers in the system topped one million by the end of 2011.

“Fairtrade is making a difference for over a million farmers and workers and their families, as this report shows,” said Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive at Fairtrade International. “The rich data here gives insights into our core strengths – for example our world class work with smallholder organisations – as well as those areas where we need to improve, such as in furthering workers’ empowerment and progress toward a living wage.”

Fairtrade certified producer organisations have also helped to empower women, nearly 90,000 women work on Fairtrade tea plantations or are registered as tea farmer members of producer organisations.

There are several women’s co-operatives producing shea butter in Burkina Faso and Mali, and women often join small producer organisations, such as in the fruit and oilseeds category.

Smallholder organisations also reported a 30 percent increase in sales and revenues on Fairtrade terms, and a 26 per cent increase Fairtrade Premium over the time period under review.

However, there were challenges in the worker sector. While the data show strong growth across many indicators for small producer organisations, plantations and other hired labour set-ups in some product areas continued to sell only a relatively small share of their production as Fairtrade.

Fairtrade International is beginning inplementing a new Hired Labour Strategy to increase impact and ensure greater benefits for workers.

Information was gathered from 990 out of 991 producer organisations, making it their most complete report ever.

In addition, for the first time, this year’s report includes summaries of recent in-depth research into the impacts of Fairtrade in specific products and countries, as well as individual producer stories. This allows readers to look beyond the data on sales, production, and Fairtrade Premium to gain insights into areas that are of key importance to Fairtrade, such as worker empowerment and producer organisation strengthening.

“Our monitoring system and this report are part of our commitment to transparency and learning. The data demonstrate the successes, but also, maybe more importantly, show us where we can improve,” said Kate Kilpatrick, Research, Evaluation and Learning Manager at Fairtrade International.

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