Fairtrade International to focus on improving standards on small farms

Fairtrade International has launched a new Workers’ Rights Strategy to better support small-scale coffee farmers and their workers. “We must at all costs avoid that farmers and workers start to be regarded as being in adversarial camps. Many farmers are also workers, the two live side by side in the same small communities, both struggling against poverty and injustice,” said Marike de Peña, Chair of Fairtrade International, in a statement. Fairtrade’s Workers’ Rights Strategy was launched in 2012 and includes improvements to the existing Fairtrade Standard for plantations and estates (covering tea, bananas and flowers), work on living wage benchmarks, and more. According to the statement, Fairtrade has recognised that many small producer organisations also employ waged workers and that the number of such workers is increasing. Fairtrade International will partner with Fairtrade Producer Networks for the strategy. The Fairtrade Workers Advisory Committee will also support the two-pronged process. This partnership will examine quantitative and qualitative research to better understand the diverse situations of workers on small farms and the situations of those who employ them. Fairtrade will then use its findings to co-design a strategy with farmers and workers themselves, as to how it can better assist on small farms. Fairtrade has said it will continue to fight for farmers to receive fairer prices for all of their production and not just the small proportion that is currently sold under Fairtrade conditions.

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