A First for Coconut Farmers in Samoa
A new country has been added to the map of Fairtrade farmers and workers. The Savai’i Coconut Farmers Association on the island of Savai’i is a young organisation with a small membership. The farmers have been working for less than a year to comply with the social, environmental and economic standards and just became certified in early September.
The association aims to contribute to the recovery of the coconut cream industry in Samoa, an important contributor to the local economy that has declined by 50 percent in the last 10 years. Krissy Co, a local buyer, along with Nice Blocks, a New Zealand ice cream company, and Fairtrade Australia/New Zealand supported the farmers as they worked to become certified.
“We are very happy about the certification and grateful for all the training that Fairtrade Australia/New Zealand gave us. The next step is to improve the business and sales, so we can receive similar benefits to the ones that Fairtrade brings to other cooperatives in places like Fiji and Costa Rica”, says Perise Mulifusi, secretary of the Savai’i Coconuts Farmers Association.
Fairtrade Australia/New Zealand will continue to work with the group to strengthen its business.
“With the help of Fairtrade supporters and consumers, this small business could represent a step forward towards tipping the balance between Samoa’s imports and exports, which the most recent figures state are SAT$78 million of main exports and SAT$792 million of main imports”, says Sandra Mendez, Fairtrade Australia/New Zealand’s producer support officer.