Fairtrade to set up support services for islands’ producers

15/11/2012

Fairtrade is set to establish on-the-ground support services for producers in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and other Pacific islands with officials based in the two countries who will also assist other islands.<!--more-->

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Fairtrade is a market-based development mechanism identified through the ‘Fairtrade’ Certification Mark. The mark helps consumers to identify products that have been produced and traded under international standards for sustainable production and equal trade. It also enables growers to improve the visibility of their commodities on supermarket shelves. The mark is widely recognised as an ethical label in many parts of the world.

New Zealand and Australia are among rapidly growing Fairtrade markets in the world, thereby creating significant potential to increase Fairtrade benefits to farmers as a result of sales in the two countries.

Fairtrade ANZ has identified a strong commitment among businesses and consumers in the region to support Pacific-based producers. Through its Producer Support and Relations project launched in 2011, it supports smallholder farmers in the Pacific to gain, maintain and benefit from Fairtrade certification. This facilitates training in local languages, providing guidance on Fairtrade certification requirements, helping producers to gain access to new markets, facilitating relationships with buyers, liaising with support agencies, and promoting the development of a regional Fairtrade network.

Through this project, Fairtrade ANZ has developed targeted farmers’ capacity so that they are able to improve their businesses, and as a result of its recent partnership with the New Zealand Aid Programme, services to producers will be expanded and established on the ground with two Fairtrade Liaison Officers, who will be based in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The officers will provide targeted support to selected Fairtrade applicant and certified producer groups in the Pacific islands, assisting them to achieve, maintain and benefit from Fairtrade certification, and will serve as the local point of contact for Fairtrade certification in these two countries and other Pacific islands.

Last year, consumers around the world spent almost €5bn on Fairtrade Certified products, which represents a 12% increase since 2010. In New Zealand, growth over the same period was double that amount at 24%.

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