In a move to deepen benefits for farmers, Fairtrade International has announced a new requirement for cooperatives and traders applying for cocoa or coffee certification.
The requirement, which takes effect 1 June
2020, obligates cooperative and trader applicants to have commitments in place for new Fairtrade sales volumes
in order to be eligible for certification.
The commitments must be confirmed by the end buyer, whose products bear
the FAIRTRADE Mark, and validated by the respective national Fairtrade organization.
It will also be possible for
new producer organizations to become certified, if necessary, to ensure supply continuity of an existing contract
for Fairtrade certified cocoa or coffee.
The decision comes as part of Fairtrade’s commitment to enable farmers to earn a living income.
The requirement is one of several measures being developed by Fairtrade International, with the input of cooperatives and stakeholders.
“This change aims to ensure that newly certified coffee or cocoa cooperatives will immediately be able to sell on
Fairtrade terms and provide benefit to their farmer members, and that existing Fairtrade cooperatives also continue
to build their Fairtrade sales as demand grows,” said Gelkha Buitrago, Director of Standards and Pricing of Fairtrade International.
“Farmers deserve to earn a decent living for the work they do. Being able to sell their crop on Fairtrade terms – with the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium that go with it – is a key part of that equation.”
Coffee producers face the challenge of historically low global coffee prices, which have averaged below US$1 per
pound for more than a year. The prices are significantly below the cost of production for nearly all smallholder
The Fairtrade Minimum Price of US$1.40 per pound and the Fairtrade Premium on top serve as a safety net for Fairtrade coffee farmers during these lows, but the amount sold on Fairtrade terms depends on end buyer commitments.
Challenges in the West African cocoa sector are also significant, with the majority of cocoa farming households in
Côte d’Ivoire living in extreme poverty.
Starting October 2019, Fairtrade increased its Minimum Price and Premium for cocoa by 20 percent as a step towards living incomes. Although preliminary 2019 sales figures indicate a
decrease of Ivorian Fairtrade cocoa sales of more than 11 percent from 2018, the overall financial value to Ivorian
Fairtrade cocoa cooperatives and their farmer members still increased by almost 35 percent in 2019, according to
Jon Walker, Fairtrade International’s Senior Advisor for Cocoa.
“On an individual level, however, some farmers will not have seen this benefit. Working collectively with committed
industry partners, we must return to the growth in Fairtrade volumes sold by cooperatives and their members seen
in prior years,” said Walker.
The new requirement will be in effect for 14 months or until it is superseded by revised Fairtrade Standards for
coffee and cocoa, which are currently in review. Producers and other supply chain stakeholders will provide their
input on various options and measures as part of the consultations for the Fairtrade Standards reviews.
Coffee and cocoa are two of Fairtrade’s most recognized products. The majority of Fairtrade cocoa originates in
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, while the three largest origins for Fairtrade coffee are Peru, Honduras and Colombia.
Fairtrade certifies more than 580 coffee producer organizations, with more than 560,000 farmer members. More
than 260 cocoa producer organizations are Fairtrade certified, with more than 260,000 farmer members.
About Fairtrade Africa
Fairtrade Africa, a member of the wider International Fairtrade movement represents Fairtrade certified producers
in Africa and the Middle East.
Fairtrade Africa is owned by its members, who are African producer organisations certified against international Fairtrade standards producing traditional export commodities such as coffee, cocoa,
tea, cotton, bananas, mango and non-traditional commodities including shea butter and rooibos tea.
Currently, the organisation represents over 1,050,000 producers across 33 countries in Africa.
About Fairtrade International
Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for
farmers and workers in developing countries.
Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing 1.7 million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 30,000 products. Beyond certification, Fairtrade International and its member organizations empower producers, partner with businesses, engage consumers and advocate for a fair and sustainable future.
Find out more at www.fairtrade.net.
About Fairtrade West
Fairtrade West Africa Network is a one of the four member organisations of Fairtrade, working with producers
in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and now recently Cameroun. We help cocoa, coffee, banana, shea and dried fruit producers
to get better trade terms, access to markets and build their capacity in social infrastructure.
About Fairtrade Traders
Fairtrade traders are companies who buy and sell Fairtrade products ethically, ensuring that the requirements of
Fairtrade Standard for traders are complied with. These include manufacturers of foods and beverages made from
cocoa, banana, coconut and other produce. The traders pay the cooperatives for their produce based on Fairtrade terms and local legislations pertaining to the country of purchase.
The premium farmers/workers receive from these purchases are used for development initiatives at the community level. Decision is taken democratically by all members of the cooperatives on what to use premiums for.