Peruvian banana farmers export their first container
Farmers and workers at APPBOSA with their first banana container ready for export

Last month, the members of the APPBOSA group saw one of their dreams come true – they exported their first-ever container of Fairtrade organic bananas.

APPBOSA is a Fairtrade-certified small producer group in Peru. Until recently, their role was only to grow the bananas. Harvesting, packaging and exporting were handled by local export companies. This all changed in 2005, when the Fairtrade Standards changed so that the Peruvian banana producers would gain more of the value for their fruit.  The FLO Producer Business Unit for Latin America together with other stakeholders helped the farmers to achieve this.

The farmers started harvesting their fruit themselves in 2006. The following year they started packaging, and last month they were finally ready to export their first container.

Farmer Valentín Ruíz Delgado, a member of APPBOSA, said: “I am very proud of what we have achieved. When we started this process two years ago, many people said that we would not be able to assume export responsibilities before 10 or 12 years have passed by. They were wrong. We have proved that we can do it and we want to thank FLO for all the support we have got on the way”.

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One million Fairtrade bananas in a day!
The Fairtrade banana bus and enthusiasts in Cologne, Germany

On 18 September, Germany achieved a new record – one million Fairtrade-certified bananas were distributed, sold and eaten in a single day!

The occasion was a ‘Fairtrade Banana Day’ organized by Transfair Germany. More than 6500 German shops and supermarkets, hundreds of schools, not-for-profit organizations, canteens, businesses and action groups were mobilized. Together they highlighted the situation of banana farmers around the world and the Fairtrade alternative.

To see something of the enthusiasm generated by this extraordinary day, have a look at the video or the picture gallery on the Transfair Germany website.

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Fairtrade cooperative in BBC World Challenge

A small South African farmer cooperative, Heiveld, has been selected as one of only twelve finalists in the 2008 BBC World Challenge competition.

Heiveld produces organic and Fairtrade-certified Rooibos tea, and this nomination recognizes the cooperative’s contribution to environmentally sound economic development. Over the past six years, its members have made a significant contribution to environmental research and have applied the findings in their own farming practice. Heiveld has also significantly contributed to the development of its local community, which was severely disadvantaged in the colonial and Apartheid eras.

The BBC commissioned a film showing the achievements of each of the finalists. This is currently being broadcast regularly on the BBC World Service, and you can watch short film clips from Heiveld and the other finalists on the BBC website:

Help Heiveld farmers to win the competition by voting on the BBC website! Voting is open until November 21.

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Starbucks to double purchases of Fairtrade certified coffee becoming world’s largest buyer
Coffee bags at a Fairtrade certified coffee cooperative in Loja, Ecuador. Photo: Didier Gentilhomme

Starbucks, TransFair USA and Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) announced a groundbreaking initiative that builds upon their organizations’ shared history of support for small-scale coffee farmers. Starbucks, one of the largest buyers of Fairtrade-certified coffee, will double its purchases to 40 million pounds in 2009, making the company the largest purchaser of Fairtrade- certified coffee in the world.  Marking a new phase in their nine-year relationship, TransFair USA and FLO will become key partners in the Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ commitment to ethical sourcing. To read the full statement please click here.


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Swiss coffee bar chain serving only Fairtrade coffee

Since October 2008, customers in all Tchibo coffee bars in Switzerland have been drinking only Fairtrade-certified coffee. Tchibo’s packaged coffee products are also Fairtrade-certified.

For more information please visit the website of Max Havelaar Switzerland:

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From stitcher to teacher – a story of personal triumph
Misbah Ikram in the nursery school of her stitching centre in Pakistan

Ten years ago, Misbah Ikram started work as a stitcher in one of Talon Sports’ manufacturing centres in Pakistan, making sports balls for the Fairtrade market. Three years later she was elected as a worker representative on the committee, known as the Joint Body, which administers the centre’s Fairtrade Premium.

Serving on the Joint Body, Misbah became very interested in Fairtrade principles and actively helped to plan several important projects financed by the Fairtrade Premium including, for the first time, the provision of medical services and microcredit schemes for workers.

Her exceptional enthusiasm and capabilities were clear to everyone and in 2008 she accepted a new challenge, to become the nursery school teacher for children of women working in the stitching centre. Misbah has now handed over her Joint Body responsibilities and is busily engaged in teaching the children to read, write, count and speak in English. This is a fundamentally important task in a country like Pakistan, where primary school attendance still falls below 60%*, particularly among girls.

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Belgian sugar brand Candico switches to Fairtrade

The popular Belgian cane sugar brand Candico has gone 100% Fairtrade. Candico is the first Belgian brand to demonstrate that large-scale Fairtrade is possible for an existing product range.

Candico cane sugar is available in almost every Belgian supermarket. The switch to Fairtrade represents an annual total of 2000 tons of Fairtrade-certified cane sugar, increasing global sales by almost 14%.

Candico is obtaining its sugar from two Fairtrade-certified cooperatives in Zambia and in Malawi, which are already benefiting from the Fairtrade Premium. For example, among other projects, the farmers in Malawi have financed wells and electricity for their villages.

Elod Kafaukoma, President of the Fairtrade Committee at Kasinthula Cane Growers in Malawi, said: “Since we have wells in the village, the women waste less time in getting water. Also several villages have got electricity thanks to the Fairtrade Premium. Without this money, we could never have bought high-voltage cables. I got married recently and my house now has electricity. For me, this was the nicest marriage gift!"

To read more testimonies from sugar farmers, click here.

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