Fairtrade farmers enjoy lift in sales and numbers

THE TOTAL number of small-scale farmers involved in Fairtrade schemes has topped one million. By the end of 2011, sales revenues on Fairtrade terms were also 26% higher than the previous year.


The data comes rom a stretching new report by Fairtrade International (FLO), which details the full impacts of the certification scheme.


The report shows that the overall number of producer organisations increased 10% over the period, as did the number of workers in the system (up 13%).


Notably, there was strong growth in cocoa and sugar between 2010 and 2011, with the Fairtrade Premium received by smallholder cocoa farmers increasing 89% and the number of farmers producing Fairtrade sugar growing from 17,600 to 37,200. This reflects the initial results of large-scale commitments to Fairtrade by major sugar and chocolate companies, said FLO.


Harriet Lamb, the chief executive, said Fairtrade is “making a difference”. “The rich data here gives insights into our core strengths – for example our world class work with smallholder organisations – as well as those areas where we need to improve, such as in furthering workers’ empowerment and progress toward a living wage.”


Indeed, while there is strong growth across many indicators for small producer organisations, plantations and other hired labour set-ups in some product areas continued to sell only a relatively small share of their production as Fairtrade. FLO is therefore set to introduce a new “Hired Labour Strategy” to increase impact and ensure greater benefits for workers.


This year’s report includes summaries of recent in-depth research into the impacts of Fairtrade in specific products and countries, as well as individual producer stories.