New Fairtrade Herbs-and-Spices Standards Opens Door to Thousands of Struggling Farmers

23 July 2009

Bonn, 23 July 2009: As the economic crisis pushes more farmers in the developing world to the brink, a new standard issued this week by the international Fairtrade umbrella organization offers thousands of herb and spice farmers access to waiting markets.

“Our goal is to extend the benefits of Fairtrade to as many people as possible,” said Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) in Bonn.

Responding to more than one hundred requests from farmers in scores of countries, as well as national Fairtrade organizations on three continents to expand the existing range of 25 Fairtrade herbs and spices, FLO amended its existing standard. As a result, Fairtrade certified farmers will be able to offer any type of seed, root, flower or leaf that meets the definition of herb or spice in the new standard.
Producers and traders of herbs and spices have welcomed this change. “The farmers I work with in Vietnam are really excited about the new standard,” says Jaap Brands, a founding member of the Vietnamese Van Chan Bio Farmers Club. “It means they can finally stabilize their incomes by diversifying their product range beyond tea into cinnamon and ginger.”

The new standard is also good news for consumers, who can soon expect a rapid increase in the range of Fairtrade herbs and spices in speciality shops and supermarkets. Despite the economic downturn, consumers around the world are more actively looking for Fairtrade products. This is according to a recent survey carried out in 15 countries by leading research organization GlobeScan. In 2008 consumers spent an estimated 2.9 billion Euros on Fairtrade products globally. Fairtrade sales grew by at least 50% in seven countries, including Australia and New Zealand (72%), Canada (67%), Finland (57%), Germany (50%), Norway (73%), and Sweden (75%).

“So far we’ve had 10 organizations producing Fairtrade herbs and spices,” said Rob Cameron. “The changes we have made are in direct response to what farmers want. That’s why I am sure that within a year, we will have considerably more farming families benefiting from the Fairtrade vision.”

For more information please contact: Lisa Hiller, Media Relations Manager at FLO in Bonn, Germany. Direct line: +49 228-949 23-282, mobile: +49 172-541 6076, email:

FLO sets the Standards for Fairtrade. The organization unites national Fairtrade organizations across Europe, Japan, USA, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as producer networks representing Fairtrade Certified producer organizations in Central and Latin America, Africa and Asia.  Today, more than five million people - farmers, workers and their families - across 59 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

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