It barely crosses our minds where some of the items we consume daily come from. However, these products pass through several stages before they reach the market and one of the most overlooked throughout this process is the farmers. They play the most crucial role in ensuring that we enjoy our favourite cup of coffee or gift our loved ones a bouquet and yet many of them live on less than $2 per day.
These low wages are mainly due to underpayment by big companies who strong-arm the helpless farmer into selling at their prices. It’s hard for one farmer to go against a corporation but with organizations like Fairtrade Africa, farmers can have more say in their earnings.
Who Is Fairtrade Africa?
Fairtrade Africa is a movement that represents farmers all across Africa. It’s part of the larger international Fairtrade movement that addresses the injustices of conventional trade by supporting smallholder farmers and workers to secure better terms of trade. They give farmers and workers who are part of a Fairtrade producer organization a collective voice by offering better payment standards and working conditions.
The payment standards are categorized into two main groups, namely – the Fairtrade Minimum Price (FMP) and the Fairtrade Premium Price. The Minimum Price is a floor price which covers producers’ average costs of production and represents a formal safety net, that protects producers from being forced to sell their products at too low a price. The Premium Price is a bonus paid on top of the selling price. Both of these payment standards have immense benefits for the farmers and the consumers who buy these products.
Improves The Lives Of The Farmers
Farmers who are a part of the Fairtrade movement enjoy better buying prices and even bonuses. Instead of living on less than 2 USD per day, these farmers receive what they deserve for their produce which enables them to uplift their lives and that of their families. Farmers no longer have to live in poverty when their produce sells at fairer rates in the market. They can now offer their children quality education and invest in their farming business.
Reduces Their Dependency On Market Price
The Fairtrade Minimum Price offers farmers the amount it cost to farm regardless of the market price. It is the lowest possible price that a Fairtrade payer may pay to the producer. However, when the market price is higher than the Fairtrade Minimum Price, producers received the current market price or the price negotiated at contract signing. This allows the farmer to be more financially stable and sustain his farming business with more ease.
Develops The Community
The farmers decide collectively how to invest money accumulated from the Fairtrade Premium such as improving healthcare, education, or farming equipment. Such projects not only improve their quality of life but also develop their community. Some of the farmers’ associations have set up schools and clinics in their community which ensures their communities have access to such fundamental services. They’ve also invested in farming equipment that increases their productivity as a community thus boosting their earnings.
Ensures Ethically Produced Goods For Consumers
The next time you’re shopping for household items such as coffee, tea, wine, chocolates, and more, look out for the Fairtrade badge. This shows that the product has been certified to offer better prices to farmers and the workers involved. In Kenya, some of the brands that bear the Fairtrade badge include Kericho Gold Attitude Teas, Dormans Safari Fairtrade coffee, Lecom Coffee, and Gacharage Tea.
As a consumer, when you buy these products, you promote ethical production in the farming industry. This discourages the exploitation of farmers by big corporations who buy produce at significantly low rates. You also support the farmers financially by boosting their earnings from the Fairtrade producer organizations who can offer better payment rates to the farmers. You can show your loved ones and the farmers some love this Valentine’s season by buying Fairtrade certified products. Let’s all be part of this change.
Check out this video that shows how Fairtrade Africa is changing the lives of farmers.
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