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3 Apr 2019
Small-scale farmers play an important role in global food production, but they often benefit least from global trade. To strengthen the power of farmers in trade relationships, Fairtrade International today announced a new version of its certification standard for small-scale farmers. The revised standard aims to drive more benefits for Fairtrade farmer organizations and make them more resilient to market shocks and climate change.
The standard is intended to improve the lives and livelihoods of the 1.5 million farmers certified under the Fairtrade Standard for Small-scale Producer Organizations – representing about 90 percent of all Fairtrade certified organizations.
Dario Soto Abril, Global CEO of Fairtrade International, said: “The revised standard reflects one of Fairtrade’s most fundamental beliefs: the greatest impact for farmers can be achieved if the immediate benefits of minimum prices and a fixed premium are coupled with the long-term benefits of greater democratic participation, stronger producer organizations and more sustainable production practices. Farmers played a central role in shaping this standard, as they know best how tackle their challenges.”
The standard revision bolsters Fairtrade’s core focus on farmer empowerment and resilience, while strengthening requirements and incorporating best practices to address current economic, social and environmental realities.
Key changes include:
Farmers expect the standard to continue driving positive change. According to Deborah, a member of Asunafo North Union in Ghana: “Forest degradation, indiscriminate felling of trees and bush burning before farming has been normal in my society. This has negatively affected biodiversity and ecosystems leading to low productivity, water bodies drying up, and exposure to climate change and soil erosion. I am positive that the new requirements will help us manage our natural resources effectively.”
The revised standard is the result of an inclusive process that
included consultations with more than 500 Fairtrade cooperatives in 70
countries, representing almost half of all Fairtrade certified farmer
groups. Traders, brands and other stakeholders around the world also
participated in the process.
“The difference from other certifications is that we have direct contact with Fairtrade,” said Assata, a cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire. “We are part taking part in the system as decision-making stakeholders.”
The changes will take effect on 1 July 2019 for cooperatives that become certified on or after that date. For currently certified cooperatives, some requirements take effect on 1 July and others have a phased transition period. The required changes in cooperatives’ membership structures will be granted the longest transition, becoming mandatory in January 2022.