Did you know?
Fairtrade Farmers have to sign up to certain rules, called Fairtrade Standards, to be paid a Fairtrade price.
These include the need to:
- Farm or work safely
- Not harm the environment for future generations
- Pay workers fairly and not employ children
- Let everyone, including women, have a say in running the business.
And in practice what does this mean?
Cocoa farmers on the edge of the Gola rainforest in Sierra Leone grow their crops in the shade of the rainforest trees, farm organically, learn new skills for better harvests, do not hunt or fish in the rainforest or cut down trees and scare away chimpanzees rather than killing them.
Banana producers in Colombia are planting trees, using less pesticide and taking care to collect up and recycle the plastic they use to protect the bananas while they are growing.
Coffee growers in Peru are feeling the effects of climate change with rain falling at different times and sometimes so heavily it washes the soil away. With the help of the Fairtrade price the growers now use organic fertiliser and are starting to grow coffee on higher land where it is cooler, using lower land for crops such as cocoa and sugar cane, giving growers something to sell if the coffee crop fails.
COOCAFE co-operative in Costa Rica spent some of their Fairtrade Premium on a new water treatment system in processing plants. This new system has reduced water use from 2,000-3,000 litres per 225 kg of coffee to 200 litres.
Flower growers in Kenya use less pesticides (safer for workers and wildlife), reuse and recycle water and aim to reduce waste. The distance travelled may be further but the production of flowers in Kenya uses 6 times less energy than in Holland and emits 5 times lower greenhouse gases.
Coobana Co-operative in Panama uses a slice of the Fairtrade Premium they earn from selling bananas to protect endangered turtles that hatch on beaches nearby. With this money, they invest in a local NGO, patrol the beaches at night during hatching season and clean up the shoreline
Vietnam exports large volumes of coffee, and farmers often suffer the negative environmental impact of using chemical pesticides. Eakiet, one of the first Fairtrade cooperatives in Vietnam, is based in a region enriched with natural resources and several national parks. Through training, the co-operative has stopped using pesticides and herbicides. If there is an outbreak of insects, they use high-pressure water to remove them. They continuously weed and prune their trees during the rainy season when the risk of pests and disease increases.