Fairtrade Fortnight: Where do Fairtrade products come from?

by Charlotte.Barnes on February 27, 2012

Fairtrade projects across the world are valuable to so many people, helping provide good working conditions and proper pay for workers.

Fairtrade producers range from small farms to huge plantations across Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean. They supply they UK with a number of different products, including Fairtrade flowers, fruit, vegetables, beauty products and cocoa.

It’s nice to buy products with the Fairtrade logo, but not many of us know exactly what makes a product Fairtrade or how it affects people. So here are a number of projects we thought you should know about.

Akoma Cooperative Multipurpose Society

The society is based in Bolgtanga, a poverty-stricken area in Ghana. It is compromised entirely of women who are working to improve their quality of life. They want to eliminate poverty and raise awareness for those harvesting Shea nuts.

The women involved collect, sell and process Shea nuts and Shea butter, which is used locally in cooking and also in beauty products. They don’t want to rely solely on Shea nuts for their income and are looking into diversifying by learning other skills.

Akoma received Fairtrade certification in 2009, meaning they receive a decent wage for their hard work and can maintain good working conditions and lifestyles. The extra premium they get from being Fairtrade certified goes to various social programmes and is used to make sustainable changes to the community.

The first priority is to renovate the local primary school, where improvements will include a library, technology centre and better basic equipment.

Coocafe, Coffee Cooperative

This cooperative is based in Costa Rica and represents 3,500 farmers. It also indirectly benefits more than 15,000 people.

Coocafe’s objective is to increase its farmers’ products and resources in order to achieve sustainable economic growth. Alongside making sure each farmer is paid a fair price for their coffee beans, Coocafe also works to improve the community.

It has established two foundations, one that provides scholarships to university and college for promising children and the other is Foundation Café Forestal, which supports environmental development projects.

Coocafe has been working with Fairtrade organisations in Europe since 1989 and because of its extensive experience it actively contributes to Fairtrade policies and assists other cooperatives in developing their export capacity.

Agrocel Pure & Fair Cotton Growers’ Association

Based in Western India, Agrocel Agri-Services set up the Agrocel Pure and Fair Cotton Growers’ Association to help improve the lives of the workers on cotton farms. This enabled farmers to participate in organic and Fairtrade production.

The price of cotton has been on a steady decline since the 1970s and the heavy use of chemical pesticides in order to increase yield has led to the damaging of other crops, rivers and wildlife.

Agrocel is working to turn the farms of its 1,600 members completely organic. While they are only 20% of the way to achieving this, the non-organic farms are monitored to minimise their impact on the environment.

Most of the money that comes from being Fairtrade certified is going into converting the remaining farms to organic production.

Oserian Farm

This Kenyan farm is where we source all our Fairtrade flowers. It started as a small vegetable farm with only six employees, but soon evolved into the first cut flower farm and it’s now the largest in all of Kenya.

They are constantly improving the lives of their workers with a number of projects that include education, environment and health. There is a housing complex near to the farm where the workers live and where their children can go to school.

It’s also the workers who decide how their Fairtrade premium is spent. This way money gets directed to the areas where the workers need it most.

To meet Fairtrade’s environmental standards Oserian uses light, colour and pheromone traps to control pests. The whole farm is powered by geothermal energy, which also reduces its impact on the environment.

To find out more about Fairtrade producers and the products you can buy from them please visit www.fairtrade.org.uk .

To take a look at our range of Fairtrade flowers visit www.interflora.co.uk.


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Charlotte Barnes

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