Fairtrade Asia Pacific encouraged to implement Fair Trade in China

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With the aim to raise awareness in China concerning Fair Trade, the workshop has gathered around 60 participants including Central government representatives from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and National Poverty Reduction Office, Beijing Municipal government, local producer groups and federations, agribusiness companies and media. The Central and Municipal governments encouraged Fairtrade Asia Pacific in providing access to value chains for marginalized farmers. An encouraging conclusion has been reached during this workshop, since the participants suggested the creation of a collective to better implement Fair Trade at a local level after representatives of Fairtrade certified Small Producers Organisations in China narrated their experience of engagement with Fairtrade International and its impact on their livelihood.

Fair Trade farmers confront child labour

 Rodriguez

In 2015, a report revealed that Belize did too little to eradicate child labour, included its worst forms, even though the country had signed the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
However, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) had already taken action to withdraw children from unacceptable work, jointly with Fairtrade International, FLOCERT, the independent certification body of Fairtrade International, and CLAC, the organisation representing the Fairtrade certified farmers from Latin and Central America. Indeed, BSCFA had funded a programme to prevent child labour in the Belizean sugar cane industry, following the suspension of its Fairtrade certification in 2014 after two auditors found evidence of child labour during school hours on two sugar cane farms.
An important step forward was taken this February by the Belizean government, with the establishment of three bodies dealing with child labour. This measure has been welcomed by BSCFA and by Fairtrade International, which encouraged the European Union, in its joint project partnership with the government of Belize, to implement the Youth Inclusive Community Based Monitoring and Remediation System (YICBMRS).

Fair Trade measures against sexual harassment in Kenyan flower farms

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Exploitation of workers at an industrial scale, allegations of low pay, unfair dismissals and cases of sexual harassment. This appears to be the daily life of the female workers on the rose and chrysanthemums fields near Lake Naivasha, 100km north of Nairobi.
Aware of these practices, Fairtrade International, which certifies 39 flower farms in Kenya, has set up gender committees provides also training in each of them to prevent such behaviours and to ensure harassments are reported. One of the interviewees declared in the report feeling more safe working in a Fairtrade certified farm.
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (8 March), Fairtrade International decided to shine the spotlight on a Kenyan flower picker, working in a Fairtrade certified farm. According to Rosemary Achieng, the working conditions are better now, with women and men now having the same rights. “There are regular working hours, fixed leave days, and significantly improved safety regulations”, she declared.
The gender committees created by Fairtrade International in its certified farms help to foster gender equality. “The gender committee is so important because it ensures everyone is treated equally,” Achieng explains. “That is especially important for the women workers, as they are often not aware of their rights. I organized trainings to equip them with the relevant knowledge. Now they are much stronger than before.”

Farmers are clear: “Sainsbury’s model will bring about disempowerment”

Pictures with copyright

On 23 May 2017, the Fairtrade Foundation announced that it will not be partnering in Sainsbury’s new programme destined to replace the Fairtrade label on its Red Label and Gold Label teas. These brands will no longer be Fairtrade-certified, affecting more than 229,000 small farmers.
The decision of Fairtrade Foundation towards Sainsbury’s own programme comes from Fairtrade certified farmers, consulted by Fairtrade International regarding the decision of Sainsbury’s, who were “extremely unhappy with the move”. In an open letter, they reaffirmed their will to benefit directly from the Fairtrade Premium, unlike what is proposed by Sainsbury’s scheme.

“We have Fairtrade Premium projects which are based on community prioritised needs, and for which we are fully accountable through our governance structures especially the General Assembly. We believe that we are more credible, trustworthy and effective partners towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals than any other development agency or NGO”
- Fairtrade Africa tea farmers and worker

According to Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, the implementation of Sainsbury’s model will not lead to improvements in social, economic and environmental outcomes and will not deliver positive effects for smallholders and workers. Sainsbury’s decision came after years of partnership with Fairtrade International. UK Fair Trade pioneer Traidcraft issued a statement expressing its strong concerns: Whilst Fair Trade Organisations like Traidcraft work to empower the farmers and workers who are most vulnerable in the supply chain they fear that this new scheme from Sainsbury’s may instead consolidate the power of the retailer over the supply chain.

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