quarter four report-2015 FAIRTRADE ASIA PACIFIC

FAIRTRADE ASIA PACIFIC & PSR INTEGRATION

PSR integration meeting was instrumental in finalising the transition and agreement with FI. Individual discussions with all PSR Asia team members were held to building a common understanding on roles and processes.

product network- rice

Rice Workshop was organized on 12 & 13 October wherein 12 members from 7 producer organisations participated in this workshop which covered various topics on productivity and crop management with a focus on organic. From Fairtrade point of view this was a very interesting exchange as it was the first time Fairtrade Asia Pacific had partnered with a recognized agricultural institute like Pant University to impart technical training to farmers and representatives.

There were plenty of insights shared especially the critical role government plays in seed procurement and how quality seeds when made available to small farmers at the appropriate time can directly link to food security. The government wields a lot of power which must be judiciously capitalized for protecting the interests of small farmers.

Many technical discussions on practical aspects of organic farming, pest management, organic manure production and maintenance were discussed at length which the participants have expressed an interest in learning more about.

product network-TEA

Tea Network Meeting was held in Sri Lanka on 31 October 2015 with the aim to identify issues & challenges faced by Tea Producers; prioritise issues that can be addressed through network activities; discuss project ideas for system wide project funding and to seek consensus on initiating a Tea study to collect baseline and impact data across India and Sri Lanka.

The producers were in consensus to focus on workshops:

  • to improve worker - management relations to align on mutually beneficial outcomes;
  • to focus on organic cultivation as it goes beyond production, contributing to improved and sustainable quality of living environment;
  • to organize a Tea buyers meet; marketing workshops to enhance skills of producer members and enable them cater to the needs of the international market;
  • Fair Tea promotion through audio visual aids;
  • to conduct productivity & soil conservation programmes - preventing soil erosion (terracing, slope/gradients), insect management like leeches and preventing animal attacks eg leopard, reforestation programmes for sustainability of plantation and creative promotion of quality through competitive rating system that selects “best tea”.

NATIONAL NETWORKS

  • China National Network Meeting: It was held with a view to create awareness among the producers on Fairtrade Asia Pacific governance processes. 12 men and 2 women representing 7 SPOs participated in this meeting. As an outcome of this meeting, National Network China has decided to plan for its registration and functioning and has shown interest in facilitation of a learning network platform facilitated by Fairtrade Asia Pacific.
  • Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan National Network Meetings were successfully conducted.

thematic areas - climate change

Climate Change workshop was organized in Philippines with support from Fairtrade International and Alter Trade Corporation ATC, a Fair Trade organization that produces Mascobado sugar for the Fairtrade markets. This marks the beginning of training Fairtrade sugar cane producers in the Philippines on climate change vulnerabilities and risks which is aimed at enabling them to identify adaptation measures and ways to increase their resilience to climate change.

Nelida Catubay Gingging , Secretary of NAPFWA (Naklang Padilla Farmers & Workers Association) says, “I am very grateful for this training as now I can take the knowledge about climate change and its impacts on our lives and livelihoods to others as well as share how we can participate in becoming part of the solution. In our development plan, we will include the adaptation measures we discussed in the workshop which will serve as a model to adjacent communities as well”.

producer participation in EVENTS:

  • TEXTILE EXCHANGE: 7 producer representatives, 6 from India and 1 from Kyrgyzstan represented Fairtrade in Textile Exchange held in Mumbai from 6-8 October 2015. Some of the producers shared their learnings in terms of Fairtrade cotton sales, role and relevance of commercial intermediaries in cotton supply chains, growth and impact of competing labels like BCI, GMO occurrence in India vs GMO control in Central Asia etc. which were useful insights for them.
  • SPO ToT TRAINING: Training of Trainers for Small Producer Organizations India is a series of workshops aimed at equipping the producers with not just knowledge on standards but also with skills to impart this knowledge to their peers in the field. Same set of producers have been participating in these series and this workshop will be taken up for evaluation in the coming year.

advocacy

India Sustainability Standards Conference: Fairtrade Asia Pacific participated in an advocacy event and hosted 2 panel discussions at the pan India conference in Delhi that was attended by international delegates from Traidcraft, UNDP, ISEAL Alliance et al. While one panel was anchored by Ayan Banerjee, CEO Fairtrade Asia Pacific on 'Enablers of Sustainable Development'; the second panel was anchored by Abhishek Jani, CEO Fairtrade India on 'Sustainable Supply Chains'. Many Fairtrade well wishers – Rabo Bank, Technoserve, RRA, Swiss delegate from SIDA participated and contributed with their experience and vision. Fairtrade Organic rice producer, Nature Bio Foods, led by their CEO, Mr Tapan Ray along with a farmer presented to the diverse audience the workings of the Fairtrade system and the benefits therein.

partnerships

Fairtrade Asia Pacific won its first donor funded project from the Belgium Trade Development Centre (BTC), Brussels for developing Sustainable Fairtrade Cocoa in Vietnam. This is a two year project contract from Dec 21, 2015 to Dec 20, 2017. Project partners are being identified and project team is being planned for execution. The project value is around 185,000 Euros of which 135,000 Euros will be contributed by BTC and the rest funded by Fairtrade Asia Pacific.

FIRST MARKETING CAMPAIGN EXECUTED BY FAIRTRADE ASIA PACIFIC

Marketing campaign anchored and fully owned by Asia Pacific and its producers included Push Pushpanath who walked 450kms from Pondicherry to Ooty. This was no ordinary walk but a walk for climate justice, Fairtrade and sustainable practices. This walk began on 9th of December - the day world leaders meet in Paris to discuss climate change and covered various Fairtrade producers. Simple messaging was used to focus on the following key aspects:

  • Creating Consciousness: Pushpanath carrying a picture and his walk makes people to think about Fairtrade & Climate change- who is he and why is he walking?
  • Creating Urgency: The time is running out to make a change
  • Progress: Sharing what are producers are doing to combat this problem.
  • Gratification: How can the observer be a part of this change? Where can they buy Fairtrade products and how?

engagements with the market side

  • Fairtrade Germany: Successful agreement with FT Germany on implementation of textile standards in India and Bangladesh through Fairtrade Asia Pacific.
  • Fairtrade Foundation, UK: New Services team visited India wherein they met producers like Thiashola Tea Estate & Chamraj Tea Estate in Tamil Nadu, FTAK and Manarcadu Social Services Society in Kerala. Through these visits their aim is to create consumer connections with UK consumers/ campaigners through social media and possibility of direct buying/ value add for the estate if they pack and brand their own tea which could be sold in the specialty market rather than for bulk teabag use. Premium Committee members received this enthusiastically. They are also exploring a community-based investment platform which has the potential for projects in the housing, school or hospital schemes of the estate along with greater possibility of co-promotion of Organic and Fairtrade teas at producer/origin level. Farm level approach to sourcing – could be a sustainability case study to promote within Producer Network but also to interested businesses in the UK.

RESEARCH, MONITORING, EVALUATION & LEARNING

  • Monitoring Tools: On one hand the MEL SoP was shared with everyone for feedback, on the other hand, many producer support staff came forward to take forward the pilot on implementation of the tools which can help in homogeneous development of tools across the three Producer Networks.
  • Sugar Study: The kick off meeting with ODI and RMI went successfully in London. All three PN MEL Managers reviewed the questionnaire for the study.
  • SPO Study: KIT (the Royal Tropical Institute, a Netherlands-based organization that combines development practice and research) has been selected to conduct the study.
  • Cotton Study: Detailed review of cotton study has been undertaken along with Dr. Lalitha which will be presented to the producers in first quarter of 2016 in a learning workshop.

LEARNINGS

PARTICIPATION IN EVENTS:

  • Bio Fach, Kochi: Indian Fairtrade Producers designed and set up a booth at BioFach India which was taken in partnership with Fairtrade India as a way to create awareness on Fairtrade among buyers and traders in India. While we supported in creating collaterals and materials, the feedback received was that the number of footfalls at the event was much less as compared to previous years and therefore is important for us to reconsider future participation in the event.
  • Need to evaluate/ review benefits in participation at events like TE, BioFach India
  • Organise more sustained and focussed field based training programmes which can contribute to new learning and easy adaptation by farmers
  • Increase participation of farmers and workers esp women in training programmes
  • While outsourcing programmes need to closely monitor implementation and necessary checks and balances be established.

TEA- SOCIAL COMPLIANCE

  • Tea in North-East India has been seeing systemic under investment in social compliance, and there is a lack of clarity on appropriate wage rates. Consumers in UK and Europe are not getting a clear message on our approach, thus it requires clearly articulated action plan from Fairtrade for this region. This may be planned through a special program – in partnership with key producers, important stakeholders such as govt, other sustainable tea labels, and local institutions/ NGOs.

Contributions by: Rakesh Supkar, Meenakshi Gairola, Senthil Nathan, Kuldeep Singh Chauhan, Mariam Thomas and Harveen Kour. Created by: Harveen Kour-Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Manager, Fairtrade Asia Pacific

Copyright of some pictures: Kyonne Leyser, Francois Guenet, Didier Gentilhomme, Kyonne Leyser, Linus Hallgren, Kennet Havgaard

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