The second quarter of 2016 has seen a burst of energy with Fairtrade Asia Pacific participating in several external forums as well as the implementation of various projects such as the Vietnam Cocoa project and Textile project. Efforts were concentrated on organisational development including capacity building of staff members, awareness sessions for Fairtrade Standards as well as training workshops pertaining to social compliance. There were governance related meetings, producer support for new certifications, and one-on-one training workshops for producer organisations.
Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting, Germany:
Fairtrade Asia Pacific participated in the annual meeting of Asian Development Bank (ADB) at Frankfurt Germany, which focused on cooperating on sustainability. During this event, we hosted a Fairtrade stall along with Transfair Germany to showcase our work and products. Fairtrade Asia Pacific COO, Rakesh Supkar, co-facilitated a panel discussion on Fairtrade’s response on climate change and Fairtrade Carbon Credits Standards along with Andreas Kratz, head of the Standards Unit from Fairtrade International. We were honoured to have the Chancellor of Germany, Ms Angela Merkel and the President of ADB, Mr. Takehiko Nakao visit our stall to understand Fairtrade’s work on the cotton and textile standards. The Chancellor took a keen interest in our work in rolling out the textile standards in India and Bangladesh, and also mentioned Fairtrade’s work in her speech to the gathering at the ADB annual meeting.
Responsible Business Forum, Jakarta: Mariam Thomas, Program Lead Products, represented Fairtrade Asia Pacific at the sugar working group at the Responsible Business Forum organised by Global Initiatives in Jakarta. The forum is an annual event organised by the GI, aimed at arriving on practical ways to accelerate solutions for a more sustainable world while increasing business and industry growth. Mariam Thomas gave an overview of the challenges faced by producers in Fiji and India, more specifically in Fiji with relation to markets following changes in EU policy towards sourcing. These recommendations will be implemented and monitored over a period of time.
Innovation Forum, Indonesia: Rakesh, COO, Fairtrade Asia Pacific and Erwin Novianto, Principal, South East Asia represented Fairtrade Asia Pacific at this forum. There was representation from many sustainability-related organisations especially palm oil as well as business leaders. Rakesh shared the role of certification in addressing sustainable issues. The conference gave useful insights on understanding business perspective on influence of certification on their sustainable strategy. Many big business players such as Cargill, Nestle and NGOs such as TFT, Swiss Contact expressed neutral to negative views on certification. However, they gave constructive inputs on including the companies in truly making their respective supply chains sustainable. While these views were useful to reflect on the work we do as Fairtrade and how to deepen our impact, it also made us realise that the producer support we provide on the ground is something most businesses are not aware of.
Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE). Dublin: Supply Chain Services Manager, Hagung, represented Fairtrade Asia Pacific at this event as a way of building market linkages for coffee producers for Asia. Five producers from Indonesia and one producer from India also participated in this workshop. Hagung had several meetings with potential partners such as Bean Auction, Olam, Roaster United, Indonesia Minister of Trade, CBI, Conservation International, Coffee planet, The Chain, Rehm and Co, Sustainable Harvest, Konstantinos, and Twin Trading.
Round Table, Tashkent: Aziz Rasulov, representing Fairtrade Asia Pacific, participated in the joint round table discussion in Tashkent, organised by the support of the Organic Agriculture project of the Farmers Council of Uzbekistan and UN FAO, to introduce organic farming practices to interested farmers. A general overview of Fairtrade and the certification process was presented during this meeting in order to promote the idea of Fairtrade among the participants and to explore opportunities for capacity building of Uzbek Small Producer Organizations through UN-funded projects.
IAAE Inter-Conference Symposium, Kazakhstan: The "Agricultural Transitions along the Silk Road" conference was held in April in Almaty, Kazakhstan and focused on discussing the necessary agricultural reforms post the collapse of Soviet Union. Around 200 academics from 25 countries and 60 different institutions attended the conference. The various topics discussed included competitiveness of producers, changes in land use, integration of markets, the role of state agricultural policy, government’s increasing focus and on the diversification of agricultural sectors, the expansion of the value chain by facilitating market access and reduction of arbitrary government intervention were at the top of the reform agenda. Aziz Rasulov from Fairtrade Asia Pacific gave a presentation on Fairtrade mission and the potential benefits of Fairtrade to small producers.
Asian Living Wage Conference, Pakistan: Fairtrade Asia Pacific was represented by Shakir Hussain, Senior Associate, Pakistan at this conference organized by the Government of Pakistan, Netherlands and Germany.
The Third Organic & Fairtrade Cotton Secretariat (OFCS) Meeting: Fairtrade was represented by Kuldeep Singh Chauhan, Programme Lead (National Networks) from India at the OFCS Meeting held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The OFCS is looking to tie up with academia and the industry to address the problem of organic seed contamination. NAPP is exploring engagements with the C&A Foundation, which was a key facilitator for this event.
Bonsucro Smallholders Workshop, India: Sureel Singh, Senior Associate, Supply Chain, India, attended this forum where discussions were held on role and perspectives of partner organisations as well as lessons learned from specific products and certification schemes on programmes and impact, challenges across commodities faced by small holder farmers and common approaches that can be adopted to address them.
Team-Up, India: Subhra participated in Team-Up India which was followed with a discussion with Ethical Tea Partnership, UK team on finalizing a common assessment tool for Housing and Sanitation of Tea Workers in Assam which will be published by the ETP.
Sustainability week at Auckland University Business School: Fairtrade ANZ attended the Auckland University Business School’s Sustainability Week, focusing on celebrating 10 years of Fairtrade in New Zealand. The event was organised by Barry Coates, of the Business School’s Sustainability Programme, and was attended by Auckland University Business School faculty and students.
Supply Chain Services
- Fairtrade Rice in India: The first Fairtrade-certified Rice is being launched in India by one of our producers through the efforts of Sureel Singh and Fairtrade India.
- Supply Chain Development: Supply chain development is being worked upon for Fairtrade pepper, nutmeg and cashewnuts in Indonesia.
- Java Coffee: Potential for Java Arabica coffee is being explored in East Java in Indonesia at Fairtrade Foundation UK's request.
- Fairtrade Germany is collaborating with a mid-size chocolate manufacturer to source cocoa from Indonesia.
- MH Switzerland is working on developing a proposal for rice from Asia.
- Fairtrade Korea is exploring opportunities to source mangoes from India and Philippines.
- Fairtrade Foundation is in early talks with a chocolate company to explore opportunities in Asia that go beyond core certification services. The aim is to work on certain key social development indicators such as Gender, Living wages, in the rice supply chains including their rice farmers in India, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Thailand.
- Market Coaching Programme: The Trade for Development Centre (TDC), a programme of the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), offers marketing support services to ‘small producer organizations’ and ‘micro, small and medium-sized enterprises’ engaged in fair and sustainable trade of agricultural products. Based on the producer's expression of interest, Nine of the Fairtrade small producers from Vietnam have been identified and getting prepared for the TDC's marketing coaching programme. Training for three such producers is beginning in Q3.
- Risk Management: NAPP is engaging with one of the world's leading retailers and one of the largest buyers of Asian tea. The objective is to strengthen the relationship with this key business partner and the Fairtrade Foundation by identifying the key supply chain actors, any risks associated in advance and take measures to address those risks among Tea and Coffee producer organisations in India, China, and Indonesia.
Regular one-on-one in-field support for producers and traders in terms of compliance to Fairtrade standards and audit preparations were undertaken across the region. Trainings were also conducted on building the capacities of Fairtrade Premium Committees. There are several new producers in the process of getting certified and are receiving support from Fairtrade Asia Pacific:
- India: Baby corn (2), Mango (1), Pomegranate (1)
- Indonesia: Cocoa, coconut and cashew nut (1), Coconut Sugar (1), Coffee (6), Pineapple (1)
- Sri Lanka: Coconut (2), Tea (1)
- Vietnam: Tea (1-Hired Labour set-up)
- First Fairtrade Papaya producer in Sri Lanka, Asia: The quick entrance price request for fresh papaya from Sri Lanka was successful and was announced by the Standards and Pricing Unit. This paved the way for the very first Papaya producer SPO - Vavuniya North Fruit Growers' Cooperative, from the war liberated Northern Sri Lanka to apply for Fairtrade certification.
- Access to finance support, India: Access to finance support was provided to the Small Mango Growers Association in India which enabled the producer to access 30% of procurement fund and hence make successful completion of supplying mango fruit pulp. Fairtrade Asia Pacific supported every step of the way from explaining about the documents required to preparation for due diligence by Caspian Investments
- Fairtrade Officers Refresher Training, India and Sri Lanka: Fairtrade Officers Training was conducted in Darjeeling (India) where apart from discussion based format, quizzes were held to deepen the understanding of Fairtrade standards and compliance as well as sharing of best case practices.
- Small Producer Organizations (SPOs) Exchange Visit, Sri Lanka: The experience exchanging visit and a gathering of Sri Lankan SPOs was held at SOFA a pioneering SPO in Sri Lanka that received the award of the best SPO in the region and has 20 years of experience. This served as a great learning opportunity for new SPOs in the country.
- Gender Training for Management of Tea Estates, Siliguri: Gender training was held for the management staff of 10 estates and 2 companies participated. The training served as a platform for the management staff to brainstorm on ways and means of addressing various issues confronting women workers in the estates.
- Gender Equality and Good Governance workshop, Papua New Guinea: Fairtrade ANZ and CARE international held their first joint workshop in Goroka, Papua New Guinea focussing on gender equality and good governance. It was attended by 42 small scale farmers. The overarching aim of the workshop was to unlock the influence that PNG female farmers can have on economic and social development of their communities.
- Best Practices and Gender Equality Training, Tonga: Fairtrade ANZ conducted the second joint training on best practices of vanilla production and processing as well as Fairtrade Standards for gender equality with the Tongan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Food and Fisheries (MAFFF) for the DFAT-funded vanilla project. During this time Fairtrade ANZ launched the opening of the DFAT-funded vanilla curing facility. The opening was attended by key stakeholders including MAFFF’s CEO and a representative of DFAT from the Australian High Commission of Tonga.
- Worker’s Rights Training was held for NAPP staff on a Training of Trainers model. On the basis of this training, modules are being prepared by the team for conducting further trainings for producers.
- Textile Standards Training was also conducted for the staff on Training of Trainers model.
- Textile Project: The Textile Standards were launched at the Berlin Ethical Fashion show with three brands expressing interest in working with us. Textile Apparel Traders Training was also conducted in India.
- BTC Cocoa Project, Vietnam: Several trainings on Fairtrade standards and compliance have been undertaken with all three cocoa cooperatives that are a part of the Cocoa project in Vietnam. This is part of the collaboration with Belgium Development Agency – BTC to develop Sustainable Fair Cocoa Supply Chains from Vietnam. Various gaps have been identified and addressed. An average of 40 farmers per cooperative have been trained and feel confident to train other farmers of the cooperative about Fairtrade principles and standards. The MEL framework and the evaluation matrix was developed and baseline study with the cooperatives and the households has commenced.
meetings and governance
- India: All India Fairtrade Producers (AIFP) board meeting was held in this quarter wherein streamlining of programmes was a key aspect that was discussed along with approval of strategy for producers in North East part of India.
- Indonesia: National Network meeting for Indonesian producers was held wherein apart from various updates and discussions on challenges faced by producers, an action plan for Indonesia from 2016-2020 was developed jointly by NAPP and the producers.
- Sri Lanka: Fairtrade Producers Association of Sri Lanka (FPASL) board meeting: Apart from discussing producer support activities planned for this quarter, the participants discussed the issue of declining Sri Lankan FT tea sales and premiums. One of the reasons attributed was the inadequate promotion due to which the consumers are unaware of the benefits gained by the workers due to the premium. It was suggested that the FPASL should take some measures to address this issue, and show case the Sri Lankan tea in order to increase sales and premiums. Thus highlighting the need for and use of high quality producer profiles, that can be used as effective marketing tools as well the possibility of creating short videos depicting success stories.
- Donor mapping across regions: Apart from donor mapping being done jointly with all the regions, several proposals and concept notes for programme based partnerships have been prepared.
- The launch of Resource development strategy: Fairtrade Asia Pacific presented its resource development priorities in the an organized by Fairtrade America represented by Senthil Nathan, CMO, Fairtrade Asia Pacific. All three Producer Networks presented their resource needs to 15 leading American donor agencies. This has led to several organizations expressing interest to partner with Fairtrade Asia Pacific.
- Legal expertise as a key for access to finance support: In critical access to finance support for producers, legal expert opinion is required by the producer support staff in order to facilitate the process smoothly.
- Current Bank Accounts for Small Producer Organizations (SPOs) in India: Often the SPOs may receive warning of suspension due to delay in payment of fees. When faced with a similar challenge in India this quarter, a current account was opened with the bank which proved beneficial due to ease and flexibility in international transactions for FLOCERT or export transactions. This could be replicated for other producers as well.
- Fairtrade Premium Project in Kyrgyzstan, Jalal Abad region, Bazar- Korgon village: During the time of spring, glaciers in the mountains start melting causing floods which damages roads and infrastructure, thereby creating difficulties in access. Hence, to ease their difficulties in terms of access, the cooperative Wealth of Kyrgyz Forest built a bridge over a mountain stream through Fairtrade Premium.
monitoring, evaluation and learning
- System Wide Project: Questionnaire testing for System Wide Project was completed with coffee producers of Wayanad Organic Fairtrade Farmers Association (WOFFA) in Kerala.
- Tea Study: Field work for tea study has successfully been completed in Sri Lanka and some parts of South India by ISS Hague's research team i.e. CEPA in Sri Lanka and CDS in India.
- MEL Analysis for Fairtrade Asia Pacific: Detailed data analysis was completed and shared with the board, leadership team and the principals in order to facilitate evidence based decision making.
- MEL Working Group: Fairtrade Asia Pacific was represented on the MEL working group by Harveen Kour, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager where she presented on the IT needs for the Producer Networks to various representatives from National Fairtrade Organizations, Producer Networks and Fairtrade International team members. She also jointly conducted a session on Communicating Impact with Martin Atkin, Head of Communications.
communications and media
We are in the news!
- Whipping up cakes with Fairtrade Products: Following a trader visit to the Sambalpatti Mango Growers Association in Krishnagiri in South India, there was a story on Fairtrade totapuri mangoes in The Indian Express’s Foodie website, with a focus on Fairtrade Premium impact. Bijal Vachharajani in collaboration with Maegan Dobson Sippy of Fairtrade India tried out a recipe with Fairtrade-certified dark chocolate. The stories were published in The Indian Express.