Fairtrade producer elected to Chair of the Board

Marike de Peña, former Vice Chair of the Fairtrade International Board, has been elected to serve as Chair of the organisation. De Peña is the Director of Banelino, a 400-member strong banana cooperative in the Dominican Republic. De Peña was born in Holland and has lived and worked for more than 25 years in the Dominican Republic. Prior to co-founding the Banelino cooperative in 1996, she worked for the Dominican Land Reform Institute supporting small farmers as they developed sustainable agricultural practices. She also is current Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Producer Organizations (CLAC), the Fairtrade Producer Network representing Latin American and Caribbean farmers and workers. “It’s a clear sign of growing producer empowerment in the Fairtrade system, said de Peña in a statement. “The ‘producer driven’ concept is more than just some words, it is part of our daily mission, producers and workers participate actively in the governance of the Fairtrade system.” “I believe this is a sign to the world that Fairtrade is more than just products and markets, it’s a movement of dedicated people working together to change the rules of trade and enable producers and workers to decide on their own future.” The Board also elected Esther Guluma as Vice Chair, who previously served as Board Chair in 2011-2012. Guluma has extensive experience in international development and research, policy and public affairs work. She has served in various roles with UNICEF and is currently heading UNICEF operations in Malawi. Fairtrade has thanked outgoing Chair, Molly Harris Olson, for her service as she steps down to take on another role in the Fairtrade system. Her leadership has led to greater integration of the entire system; a marked increase in representation of farmers and workers at the highest level of governance; and strong improvements in measuring and maximizing the impact of Fairtrade.

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