Fairtrade Awards 2016

The International Fairtrade Awards were celebrated in Berlin on 3 March 2016. For the second time, Fairtrade honoured outstanding farmers, workers, traders and supporters who are driving change in their communities. Almost 100 groups and individuals had applied or were nominated for the awards. The winners were selected by an international panel of sustainability experts nominated by the Fairtrade producer networks in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The awards event in Berlin was held jointly with Fairtrade Germany who celebrated the 5th German Fairtrade Awards.

Small Producer Organization of the Year

This award acknowledges small-scale farmers who have excelled in production, sustained markets and met consumer demands to enhance their communities’ livelihoods. The 2016 winners are:

Photo: Danilo Osmaro Castellanos

COCAFCAL, Honduras

COCAFCAL is a coffee cooperative supporting sustainable development for the benefit of over 5000 people in and around Las Capucas in northwest Honduras. The organization aims to improve the living conditions of its 800 members and their 12 communities, especially in health, education, infrastructure and sport. In 2015 COCAFCAL partnered with Autonomous University of Honduras to establish the first virtual university in the country, and more than 40 applications have already been received from prospective students. COCAFCAL has also invested in projects to help the community members increase their income through fishing and tourism, and by producing lemongrass and dried fruit. It collects coffee from its members for processing in its own plant. Watch a short video of COCAFCAL.

Photo: Francisco Mpambe

Sukambizi Association Trust, Malawi

Sukambizi Association Trust is an organization of small-scale tea producers founded in 2003 in the Mount Mulanje area of southern Malawi. A sustainable organization structure sees over 100 lead farmers train their fellow tea growers on the requirements of the Fairtrade Standards. Since acquiring certification in 2008, the association has grown its membership from 4000 to over 8600 as local farmers have seen how Fairtrade Premium projects have made important advances to living standards. For example, most Sukambizi members – of whom 70 percent are women - can now send their children to school and feed their families well. There have been some large construction projects also, such as a new school with enough places for 1200 primary students, a road bridge over the Ruo River, and a maternity wing extension to the nearby Naphimba clinic. The Fairtrade Premium even enabled the association to install a 28km pipeline to supply 12 villages with drinkable water. Watch a short video of Sukambizi.

Photo: Dinusha Sewwandi

Small Organic Farmers’ Association (SOFA), Sri Lanka

The Small Organic Farmers’ Association (SOFA) is a certified organic farmer organization for high quality tea in Sri Lanka. SOFA is made up of 2108 farmer families who are supported by the association to work in a democratic and transparent manner. SOFA pays special attention to the sustainability of the environment, implementing programmes on soil conservation, soil fertility, carbon emissions reduction, watersheds protection, and reforestation. The Fairtrade Premium is reinvested in various income generating activities: tea plants, seeds and various crops are distributed among the farmers to promote biodiversity; cows and goats are given for commercial milk production (with the cow dung used as an organic fertilizer); and agricultural equipment is procured to encourage efficient and systematic farming. Social welfare programmes funded by the Premium include educational assistance and pre-schools for the farmers’ children, drinking water projects, community centre construction, and projects to help women become self-employed. Watch a short video of SOFA.

Premium Committee of the Year

This category honours Fairtrade Premium Committees that have taken innovative decisions on the use of premium money and fostered their communities' development. The winners are:

Photo: Camilo Pérez

Fundación de Trabajadores de Comercio Justo de Urabá (FUNTRAJUSTO), Colombia

The Fundación de Trabajadores de Comercio Justo de Urabá – or FUNTRAJUSTO – is a Colombian workers’ foundation comprising 15 Fairtrade certified farms. FUNTRAJUSTO was created in 2012 and is the first foundation in the Urabá region to organize social work projects in local communities. It gives priority to groups such as women, youth and the elderly. Its first project was the opening of a new school in the village of El Tigre, which meant 80 children no longer had to study in an old farm. FUNTRAJUSTO also ensures that working conditions meet Fairtrade requirements, and empowers its workers by helping them to improve communications with management. Watch a short video of FUNTRAJUSTO.

Photo: Siddrath Selveraj

United Nilgiri Tea Estates Company Limited (UNTEA), India

United Nilgiri Tea Estates Company Limited was one of the first organizations in India to be Fairtrade certified. It operates four tea estates in the picturesque Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu in the south of the country, producing high quality teas at altitudes of over 2000 metres. The Nilgiri Premium Committee has a twin emphasis on education and health. In education, the Premium has helped to fund the building of eight classrooms and one audio visual room with 900 students now benefiting from 25 new computers; while two school buses and hostels help those children who live further away to attend classes. In its other core area, a community health centre has already received around 12,000 patients and has given all workers, their spouses and children the option of immunization against Hepatitis B. Crèches and an orphanage have been opened and at the other end of the life scale, there is now a pension scheme. Watch a short video of UNTEA.

Photo: Meraf Promotion

Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, Ethiopia

The Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union unites 22 groups of farmers across six districts in Gedeo, southern Ethiopia. Yirgacheffe farmers are proud that their organic fertilizers, a wide forest canopy and gentle climate produce a high quality Arabica coffee. The union and its continually expanding membership have built and maintain schools in their communities, seeing education of the children as the way to a better future. Yirgacheffe has also invested in infrastructure projects: building roads and bridges, improving pathways and installing electricity. Many women in particular say this is “lighting up their lives”. Watch a short video of Yirgacheffe.

Global Trader of the Year

This award acknowledges outstanding achievements from traders in building sustainable supply chains and recognizing the needs of smallholder farmers. The winner is: 

Photo: TransFair e.V./Frank Nürnberger

Zaytoun CIC, UK

Zaytoun CIC began working with small-scale cooperatives in the Palestinian Territories in 2004 to help olive oil producers access markets and overcome restrictions resulting from the ongoing conflict in the region. Initially funded by hundreds of customers who put up payment in advance of receiving their oil, Zaytoun quickly established itself as a UK social enterprise and delivered the world's first Fairtrade certified olive oil in 2009. The Zaytoun product range now extends to other foodstuffs from the West Bank and Gaza including almonds, dates and maftoul - large hand-rolled cous cous – and the commitment to facilitate an economic independence for Palestinians is ongoing. Zaytoun has a Palestinian director in the West Bank who encourages farmers to create strong cooperatives to enhance their businesses as well as their communities, and there is a continual drive to find agents who will help to transport the produce through border crossings to the export points. Zaytoun is working with the Soil Association on gaining organic status for its remaining foodstuffs and has been helping women producers with their green olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Zaytoun also organises olive harvest and tree planting tours to engage UK-based supporters of Fairtrade and help sustain the olive industry in the face of grove destruction. Read more about Zaytoun.

Biggest Fairtrade Fan

This category acknowledges special achievements from outstanding Fairtrade supporters worldwide, who work tirelessly towards attaining the Fairtrade vision. In this category, the judges had shortlisted 10 candidates and the final winner was chosen by the public through an online voting. The winner is:

Photo: TransFair e.V./Frank Nürnberger

Bijumon Kurian, President of Manarcadu Social Services Society, India

Bijumon Kurian continuously pushes farmers and workers across Asia to enhance their knowledge about Fairtrade Standards. As president of Manarcadu Social Services Society in the Indian state of Kerala, Bijumon has worked tirelessly to empower women and motivate young people for farming, and enhance the knowledge transfer among the 1600 small-scale farmers supported by the cooperative. He has also initiated training and knowledge exchange programmes for tea garden workers. In his role as board member of the Fairtrade Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP), Bijumon has focussed on enhancing the visibility of Asian producers in global markets by organizing their participation in a number of trade fairs and business trips. He has been representing small producers as their delegate in the NAPP general assembly for the past three years, making sure their voice is heard in regional decision-making. Read more about Bijumon.

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