Fairtrade premium earnings went up in 2021 as sales recover from pandemic

The annual report from Fairtrade International highlights the way farmers and co-ops have improved incomes through better farm practices

Fairtrade International’s annual report for 2021 shows that its certified producers registered a 4% uptick in Fairtrade Premium earnings for its top seven commodities, up to €190m from €179m in 2020.

Incomes for Fairtrade organisations – many of them co-ops – rose as sales recovered from the pandemic throughout the year – with the biggest rises for cocoa (37%) and flowers (21%).

Fairtrade premium earnings from coffee were more than €82m, for cocoa more than €49m and banana more than €34m.

The premium, an additional sum of money that goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers to invest in their businesses and communities as they see fit, has provided more than €1.5bn in value to farmers and workers over the past decade.

“Our work is wholly focused on building a level playing field for nearly two million farmers and agricultural workers around the world so that they too can have equitable access to global markets,” said Sandra Uwera, global CEO of Fairtrade International. “This report is a confirmation of the strength of the farmers and workers who have confronted challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and are building back, with Fairtrade’s support.”

Throughout the year more than 37,000 Fairtrade products were sold to consumers in 143 countries. Around 2,500 companies used the Fairtrade mark.

The report also looks at climate change, with more than 500 producer organisations implementing climate-resilient farming practices. More than 650,000 tonnes of carbon were offset between 2021 and 2022 through Fairtrade projects in Burkina Faso, India, Lesotho, Uganda, Ethiopia and Peru.

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Farmers and co-ops also improved efficiency and working practices in a drive for living incomes, the report said.. Fairtrade International bases its voluntary Living Income Reference Price on sustainable crop yield, viable farm size, adequate price and the regional cost of living. According to the report, eight companies currently pay the cocoa Living Income Reference Price to 11 co-ops in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana as part of pilot projects that also incorporate other elements necessary for a living income, such as crop diversification.

To support producers affected by Covid-19, Fairtrade worked with government and corporate partners to raise more than €15m in Covid-19 relief and resilience funds, which were used in 2020 and 2021 by 667 producer organisations to benefit more than 800,000 farmers and workers.

 “The urgency to accelerate our work is enormous and the scope is ambitious,” said Melissa Duncan, Fairtrade International’s executive director. “As ever, we recognise the many farmers, workers, businesses and supporters who are doing their part each and every day to make the world a fairer place.

“Our annual report helps us renew our call for everyone to do their part, making choices that build resilience, ensure sustainability, and support the planet for future generations.”