New partnership in Australia aids Fairtrade farmers in Indo-Pacific

DFAT Partnership Launch event

A ground-breaking new $4.5 million partnership between the Australian Government and Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand (ANZ) will build support for Fairtrade products in Australia. The partnership will also link smallholder producers in developing Indo-Pacific countries to international and regional markets.

‘Fairtrade for Aid in the Indo-Pacific’ will be announced today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, at the Fairtrade Asia Indo-Pacific New Markets Forum in Melbourne. The four year commitment from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) will increase economic growth and trade from Indo-Pacific countries, alleviating poverty and benefiting some of its most disadvantaged citizens.

Molly Harriss Olson, CEO of Australia New Zealand, says “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. Eighty seven per cent of the world’s small farms are in Asia and the Pacific“. “We have an enormous opportunity to improve people’s lives by alleviating poverty and creating more sustainable livelihoods in this part of the world.”

“Fairtrade ANZ has 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.” “Corporate partners are also critical to help us build these value chains and create the global demand in the marketplace for Fairtrade Certified products”, Ms Harriss Olson says.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International, in Australia this week for the Forum, welcomes the opportunity to escalate development in Indo-Pacific. “Fairtrade now has 1210 producer groups and more than 1.4 million producers in 74 countries... We link both ends of the supply chain dollars like a good old fashioned matchmaker, generating almost $7 billion in retail sales across the globe.”

“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. 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”, Ms Lamb adds, “But throwing money at a proven solution generally does”. “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”, says Ms Harriss Olson.

Photo: Molly Harriss Olson, CEO Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand, Armia Zuhri, Director Permata Gayo Cooperative Indonesia, Julie Bishop Minister For Foreign Affairs, Prabindra Singh, Lautoka Cane Producers Association Fiji, Daniel Kinne, Highland Organic Agricultural Co-operative Papua New Guinea, and Harriet Lamb, CEO Fairtrade International.