Fairtrade Africa Builds Strength at Continental Forum

20 December 2010

Picturesque Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe played host to more than 100 people representing Fairtrade producers, coordinators and leadership at the first-ever Fairtrade Africa Forum. Attendees discussed Fairtrade’s impact on the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and workers and how Fairtrade Africa, the network representing the interests of Fairtrade certified producers, can continue supporting development on the continent.

“Meeting people from all over Africa and exchanging views on current issues was the best part of the meeting,’ said AbuZeid Mabrouk from Magrabi Agriculture in Egypt, a certified hired labour organisation producing citrus, grapes and vegetables.

The participants at the forum represented both certified small-producer and hired labour organisations. Small scale farmers made up the majority of participants at the forum.

Guest speakers at the forum were Dr Tobias Takavarasha, Senior Officer for Agricultural Policy and Investment at the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD ) and FLO CEO, Rob Cameron. Topics included producer empowerment, the impact of climate change and improving producer capacity. Participants also entered a lively discussion on the possibility of creating a Fairtrade consumer movement in Africa domestic markets. South Africa and Kenya have already began selling Fairtrade products domestically (See "Kenya Brews Up a Good Cup" and "Made in the South, Sold in the South")

On the third and final day, Fairtrade Africa members held their General Assemby, where delegates from different regions approved the adapted constitution for the organisation.

“All producers and workers benefit from the fact that Fairtrade Africa is becoming a strong and viable hub of Fairtrade activities on the continent. The hosting of the Fairtrade Africa Forum was proof of this and we look forward to continued collaboration” commented Nadia Hoarau-Mwaura, Head of Africa & Middle East, PSR FLO.

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