7 May 2020
Fairtrade producers supporting their communities during COVID-19
From food parcels and awareness raising, to sanitization of public spaces. In spite of uncertainties, farmers and workers worldwide are helping their communities be stronger against COVID-19.
COVID-19 has brought a new normal for farmers and agricultural workers around the world. Some are still working away to put food on our tables, with a limited workforce and enhanced safety. Others have been forced cease activities altogether until further notice. And yet, even in these uncertain times, many of them have found ways to support and contribute to their local communities.
Here are just three of the ways these Fairtrade heroes have been taking action.
1. Innovative use of equipment to sanitize public spaces
The Cooperativa Agrícola Vitivinícola Loncomilla, a wine and grapes producer, located in the Maule region in Chile, created an alliance with the municipality of San Javier to use its tractors and personnel to carry out communal sanitation operations on streets, pavements and homes.
The cooperative hopes that this measure, benefiting local families around the community, will help to prevent the virus from spreading. Viñedos Emiliana, a Fairtrade certified Hired Labor organization , in the Chilean city of Valparaíso is carrying out a similar initiative in one of the communities where the vineyard workers´ live.
Measures in public spaces are also considered to be of utmost importance in El Salvador. The cooperative ATAISI, working in coffee and sugar, supported the establishment of a handwashing station and a tunnel to sanitize passers-by and vehicles entering their local towns of San Isidro and Colonia Llano Grande.
2. Making donations of essential items
In Côte d’Ivoire, cocoa cooperative SCJPAB has distributed liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, water bleach, handwashing equipment and masks to its members in more than ten communities. They have also made distributions to health centres, the police, local authorities and the cooperative’s warehouses.
Similarly, COOP-CA YAWOUBE, located in Abengourou, donated liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, masks and other sanitary items to the Regional Prefecture. The president of the cooperative said: "Given the pandemic of the corona virus, the Board of Directors and I could not remain indifferent, so we decided to make donations and asked our community to respect the instructions given by the authorities ”.
In El Salvador, ATAISI and El Sunza have provided food supplies to their more than 500 associates using Fairtrade Premium funds generated through their sales of coffee and sugar.
Sports ball producer Bola Gema-Pakistan has distributed personal protective kits to 100 workers and members in their community. The kit included Vitamin C supplements, medicine and soup to last for approximate two months.
‘’Prevention is better than cure and by providing medicines and sanitization packs, we can build the resilience of our workers to fight against the spread of infection’’ said Mr. Waseem Lodhi, Managing Partner Bola Gema.
3. Raising awareness on preventive measures
Fairtrade rice producers at Sisaket Creative Farming Network (SCFN) in Thailand developed fun and educative sessions for elderly women, a high risk group. The women in turn are playing an active role in raising awareness among their families and communities. They also stitched more than 250 protective masks to distribute among hospital staff, members of the producer organization, temple monks and the local villages.
Masoom Sports Foundation in Pakistan, also helped educate their community on precautionary measures, on top of providing 200 medical kits.
ECAMOM cocoa cooperative in the southwest of Côte d'Ivoire reproduced posters from the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene and distributed them to its members. They also visited 11 sections of the cooperative to raise awareness, ensure material was available in local languages and to make donations.
Across the globe, Fairtrade producer organizations are striving to keep their farmers and workers safe, and to help their wider community, while also working to keep producing the food and products we love. Why not join our campaign in the run up to World Fair Trade Day to say thank you to these heroes? Post a thank you message on social media with the hashtag #FairtradeTogether to participate.