e rs and producers The trading partners are, in a nutshell, the producers’ link to the export market: they accept the orders, distribute them between the producers, assist them as necessary in the production process, collect the products, pay the producers and make the arrangements for the logistics and export. Good agreements and regular harmonisation are required to maintain a transparent equilibrium between the interests of the trading partners as export companies, the interests of the producers and the requirements imposed by the market. Consequently, development trade is also a continual endeavour to find a balance between ideals and recalcitrant commercial everyday practice. Producers Coffee farmers with one hectare of land, who have joined together to form a cooperative. Tea pickers who work on a tea plantation which conducts a social policy. A woodworking shop that began as a one-man company and now has twenty employees. Bag weavers who work at home and deliver their orders once a week. Glass blowers who like working in a factory which offers them cooler, safer and more agreeable work. Women who have their own workshop, since Muslim cultures do not allow women to work together with men. The producers’ forms of cooperation are just as varied as the products they make. However, all producers share one thing in common: they live and work in a development country in Asia, Africa or Latin America, are in a disadvantaged position and have
organized themselves to improve their position. As individuals they have virtually no access to the (international) markets for their products: cooperation increases their opportunities to sell their products. Trading partners Fair Trade Original does not procure from individual producers, but from export organizations. These can be marketing organizations that purchase the goods from producers, cooperatives or factories. These trading partners are the essential link for Fair Trade Original in reaching the producers or employees. The trading partners’ development efforts contribute to the sustainable enhancement of the market opportunities available to the producers who are affiliated within them and, in turn, the sustainable enhancement of their socio-economic development.
Trading partners play an extremely active role in the assistance provided to producers The trading partners play, in general, an extremely active role in the assistance provided to producers. The producers – irrespective of whether they work in a factory, workshop, plantation, plot of land far inland, at a small informal workplace or, on occasion, even at home – receive support in the chain based on the
trading partners’ efforts. This support, in addition to support in the more technical aspects of the procurement, sales and export logistics, can also adopt many other guises – product development, the procurement of raw materials, the provision of training courses designed to improve production, the supervision of good working conditions, the formation of a social emergency fund, the provision of grants for school children and the provision of information about HIV and AIDS: each situation requires a specific approach. The local producers’ organization will often devote attention to the needs of individual producers, whilst larger groups of employees have an employees’ representative committee that takes part in the decisionmaking on priorities. Fair Trade Original finances, encourages and promotes these programmes, programmes that are an essential element of the producers’ socio-economic development.
Published on Jul 12, 2011