Over 350,000 farmers and workers in Kenya are set to benefit from a new partnership signed on Thursday between Fairtrade Africa (FTA) and The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
The farmers drawn from the coffee, tea and vegetable sectors will be able to fetch better prices from their products and have better access to African and global markers following the signing of the agreement meant to harmonize trade standards.
The partnership with ARSO whose mandate includes implementation of the Eco Mark Africa (EMA) label will promote the issuance of dual marks for products licensed to use the Fairtrade mark.
The mark means that products produced by small-scale farmer organizations or plantations meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards while the Eco Mark Label will further guarantee a sustainable measurement of assessing the environmental footprint of a product.
Speaking in Nairobi during an event to sign up the partnership, Dr. Nyagoy Nyong’o, Executive Director, Fairtrade Africa, said that Fairtrade is at the forefront of global certification scheme in partnering with ARSO to deliver benefits to farmers and consumers under the Continental Free Trade Area. “The African farmer is investing a lot in sustainable production but not getting any sufficient market for his/her product. In keeping with the Sustainability goal number 17, Fairtrade is committed to building partnerships for sustainable development for farmers to get an opportunity to get more market within Africa and also outside Africa, “she said.
The EMA certification will encourage African producers to access south to south markets with sustainably produced goods and services. EMA will support in particular, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to get certified and gain access to niche markets”, said Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, ARSO’s Secretary General.
“The partnership is also set to expand intra-African trade through cooperation in promoting and advancing the application of standards to support sustainable and ethical production, socially-inclusive business, community development and consumption of agricultural products across the continent”, he said.
Fairtrade Mark is the most worldwide recognized and trusted sustainability label.
In Europe, Fairtrade has become a trusted brand which allows consumers to make a change through their own shopping habits.
Fairtrade products differentiate themselves from others in the market and fetch better prices for farmers and producers.