20 Dec 2021
A resilience journey: COVID-19 funds continue to support Fairtrade producers
From farm diversification to school supplies and creating business opportunities: An update on the impact of Fairtrade’s COVID-19 funds so far.
The long awaited return to “normal” still remains a distant hope for many. Rising numbers in several regions, unequal access to vaccines and the long lasting economic impact means that many people across the globe, including Fairtrade farmers and workers, are still facing an uphill struggle.
During the past year, Fairtrade producers have been quick to implement measures to prioritise safe working conditions, to ensure they can stay in business. Their income relies on being able to work in their fields and factories. Working from home is not an option and harvesting and planting seasons are bound to the laws of nature, and not lockdowns.
In addition, Fairtrade producers have also been developing long term projects to become more financially secure in these uncertain times. For example, they are setting up e-commerce websites to extend their customer reach, or diversifying their production to avoid relying exclusively on one crop.
Last November, in collaboration with partners across several sectors, Fairtrade secured over 15 million euros to support producers in both immediate relief and long-term recovery measures. Here is an update on the impact so far:
Regional spotlight: Africa
In Africa, over 330 producer organisations have used the funds for a variety of initiatives in 19 countries. They ranged from installing solar panels, to producing soaps to protect communities and generate extra income.
One of example is SCOOPS PMB, a relatively new cocoa cooperative in Côte d'Ivoire which decided to support local young people and women to find new and diverse ways of earning income. They created the Business for Women initiative which provided funds and training to 17 entrepreneurs in their cooperative to help them maintain or scale up their business.
“I joined the cooperative one year ago. Before I had a small snack bar but it was tiny. I was now able to get funding to expand my business. I now have a restaurant, I sell local rice, and I have a stall. I am thankful to the initiators of the project because I feel more fulfilled, and I can also take better care of my family and myself. “
Mrs. Tahou Peladosse, SCOOPS PMB
In addition, via the project, the producer organisation also created two poultry farms of 500 m² providing local job opportunities for 20 young people.
Find out more about Fairtrade Africa.
Regional spotlight: Asia and Pacific
In this region over 270 organisations were supported in 21 countries. We previously highlighted how a tea plantation created a taskforce to help keep their workers safe, or how coffee facilities improved their infrastructure to be more efficient and increase production.
This time, we focus on the flower plantation, Tropiflora in Sri-Lanka. As the new school year approached, children and their parents were unable to go out and buy school supplies such as notebooks or stationary due to travel restrictions. They utilised the funds to distribute over 121,000 school supplies directly to workers and their families.
‘This time they have distributed school stationery to our children to aid in their education which is highly appreciated. These free items will help us save our expenses and use it for providing other support to our children such as buying internet data for their online classes.’ Arm Arutselvan, Program Consultant, Sri Lanka
Find out more about Fairtrade in Asia and Pacific
Regional spotlight: The Caribbean and Latin America
Over 320 producer organisations in 10 countries have received funding support in this region. A big portion of the funds were used to cover increased production costs, ensuring the implementation of safety protocols or to provide food supplies to communities in quarantine.
PROEXO, a coffee producer in Honduras, used the funds to buy safety kits for 90 members of the organisation who were considered the most vulnerable, either because of their location, income situation or age group.
“In addition to the kit, I also received a training about PROEXO´s safety protocol. Each person and employee now feels safer and more protected to face the COVID-19 crisis because we have personal protection tools” Ruber Landaverde, worker, Operations and Quality Control PROEXO
Activities are still being carried out across the world thanks to the funds. Our thanks go to the Fairtrade producer networks and our partners across and beyond the Fairtrade system who make this work possible.
Get a closer view
Want to learn more about how Fairtrade producers are fighting this global crisis, alongside many other pressing challenges such as climate change, rising costs of living and the search for a next generation of farmers? Watch our Fairtrade documentary series: Farmers.
In it, local film makers have been documenting up-close the evolving situation of three farmers in Kenya, Indonesia and Peru. Stream all episodes here.
Activities highlighted in this article and beyond include funding by:
- German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ);
- Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO);
- British Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO); via the Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility (VSCF) set up by the FCDO in August
- Impact investor Incofin IM;
- and Fairtrade member organizations’ own funds