New partnership to grow Fairtrade markets in Australia to aid farmers in Indo-Pacific

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th November 2014
New partnership to grow Fairtrade markets in Australia to aid farmers in Indo-Pacific
New partnership to grow Fairtrade markets in Australia to aid farmers in Indo-Pacific

A new $4.5 million partnership between the Australian Government and Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) is set to build support for Fairtrade products in Australia.

Fairtrade ANZ said the partnership would also link smallholder producers in developing Indo-Pacific countries to international and regional markets. The partnership, ‘Fairtrade for Aid in the Indo-Pacific’ was recently announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, at the Fairtrade Asia Indo-Pacific New Markets Forum in Melbourne.

Fairtrade ANZ said the four year commitment from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) would “increase economic growth and trade from Indo-Pacific countries, alleviating poverty and benefiting some of its most disadvantaged citizens”.

“Up to 70 per cent of the staple foods in some developing countries come from poor small farmers, living on as little as $2 per day,” said Molly Harriss Olson, CEO of Fairtrade Australia New Zealand. “Eighty seven per cent of the world’s small farms are in Asia and the Pacific,” she said.

“We have an enormous opportunity to improve people’s lives by alleviating poverty and creating more sustainable livelihoods in this part of the world,” Ms Harris Olson said.

Partnership will create demand for Fairtrade products

Ms Harris Olson said Fairtrade ANZ had a “vitally important role” to play in creating demand for Fairtrade products, developing the supply chain and growing the number of producers in the region.

“This work is hard and it takes time but with this DFAT partnership we are seeing the key first steps towards realising our vision,” Ms Harris Olson said. “Corporate partners are also critical to help us build these value chains and create the global demand in the marketplace for Fairtrade Certified products,” she said.

Businesses Fairtrade works with include: Grinders Coffee, Mondelez (Cadbury), Woolworths, Coles, Kathmandu, Queen Vanilla, Jaspers Coffee, All Good Organics and Alter Eco.

“This is the first time that Fairtrade ANZ has received substantial Government funding and we are delighted to be working with the Minister and DFAT on this important partnership to alleviate poverty in our region,” Ms Harriss Olson said.

Fairtrade globally

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International, who was in Australia for the recent Forum, welcomed the opportunity to escalate development in the Indo-Pacific.

“Fairtrade now has 1210 producer groups and more than 1.4 million producers in 74 countries,” Ms Lamb said. “We link both ends of the supply chain, like a good old fashioned matchmaker, generating almost $7 billion in retail sales across the globe,” she said.

“Because Fairtrade is on the ground with producers and in their communities, we see the impacts of trade, and work to develop innovative responses to make trade just and equitable,” Ms Lamb said. “When we get it right, trade can be a sure path to development because it is economically and socially sustainable. Throwing money at a problem generally doesn’t work, but throwing money at a proven solution generally does,” she said.