Fresh Fruit

Developing countries have increased their participation in fresh fruit trade by as much as US$4.5 billion from 1992 to 2001 (FAO, 2003)

Below you can find out about:

Problems facing fresh fruit producers

Millions of people around the world – many of them small-scale farmers in developing countries –depend on the production, processing and sale of fresh  produce for their livelihoods, income and food security. Expanding production of fresh fruit offers opportunities to create employment, to raise households’ incomes and generate foreign exchange earnings through exports. Developing countries have increased their participation in this trade by as much as US$4.5 billion from 1992 to 2001 (FAO, 2003).

Increasing costs of production

However, not everybody benefits from this lucrative business. In many countries, workers in fresh fruit plantations endure unsafe working conditions, with short-term contracts offering low wages and few benefits. Small farmers face increasing difficulties covering their costs of production and competing with larger corporations.

Small farmers face increasing difficulties covering their costs of production and competing with larger corporations.

In addition, expanding global trade and recent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, associated with fresh produce, have led to the establishment of more numerous stringent safety and quality requirements. As a result producers in developing countries need to make additional investments in order to meet these requirements. This further increases their costs of production.

Benefits of Fairtrade for producers

Fairtrade offers the opportunity to both fresh fruit plantations and small farmers to get a price which aims to cover their average costs of sustainable production. Additionally, producers can invest the Fairtrade Premium to improve their businesses and social and environmental conditions. For example, many producers have chosen to use Fairtrade Premium funds to convert their production to organic.

Over the past few years a Fairtrade fruit bowl has been created. Nowadays, the category of fresh fruits comprise the following products:

•    Citrus fruit: oranges, lemons, limes, and mandarin oranges
•    Sub-tropical fruit: avocadoes, and mangoes
•    Deciduous fruit: apples, grapes, pears, and plums

To satisfy market requirements and given the perishability of produce in this sector, Fairtrade International has acknowledged the need to have Fairtrade Standards for both small farmer organizations and plantations.

Small farmer organizations require more time than plantations to reach the quality criteria that they have to comply with and have some limits in providing the desired volumes.

Plantations are an important complement to smallholders. They give smallholders strength on the market and allow Fairtrade fresh fruit to satisfy market demand in terms of quality consistency and volume. The Fairtrade system however gives preference to small farmers as they are more restrained by conditions of trade.

Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium:

  • Producer organizations are paid a Fairtrade Price which aims to cover their average sustainable cost of production. The Fairtrade Price for the different fresh fruit products is different for each region and is based on the cost of sustainable production in each of them.
  • The Fairtrade Price for organic fresh fruit is also higher than for conventional.
  • On top of the Fairtrade Prices, a Fairtrade Premium is paid to the producer organizations.

Fairtrade Standards for small fresh fruit farmers:

  • Profits must be equally distributed among the members of the  cooperative or association.
  • All the members of the producer organization have a voice in the  decision-making process and in the group organization.

Fairtrade Standards for fresh fruit plantations:

  • A Joint Body is formed and includes workers and a management team   responsible for the use of the Premium.
  • The Premium must not be used to cover ongoing operating expenses,   but rather to improve living and working conditions.
  • Forced labour and child labour of children of 15 years and under is    prohibited. Work for children over 15 must not interfere with their education and they must not do work that could risk their health.
  • Workers have the right to establish or join an independent union.
  • Salaries must be equal to or higher than the regional average or than the minimum wage in effect.
  • Health and safety measures must be established in order to avoid work-related injuries.

To find out more about the Fairtrade Standards for fresh fruit production, please download and read the full product Standard.

Fairtrade certified producers

You can read about Fairtrade certifed producers of pineapples and grapes on the website of Fairtrade Foundation. Follow these links:
•    Blue Skies Organic Collective Association (BSOC), pineapple growers, Ghana
•    Keboes Fruit Farms, grape producers, South Africa

Buying and selling Fairtrade fresh fruit

If you want to find out what products are available in your country, visit the website of your national Fairtrade organization.If you’re interested in selling Fairtrade fresh fruit in your country, see our information about selling Fairtrade.

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