Farmers and workers experienced a boost in Fairtrade Premium earnings thanks to a recovery in Fairtrade product sales throughout 2021 as global commercial activity rallied from the COVID-19 pandemic slump, Fairtrade International’s latest annual report has revealed.
According to the report, released today and titled Building resilience in a changing world, Fairtrade certified producers registered a four percent uptick in Fairtrade Premium earnings over 2020 levels for the top seven Fairtrade commodities, reaching €190 million. Sales data for 2021 were encouraging, especially for some products. Cocoa and flower growers experienced the strongest rebounds, with producer sales volumes expanding by 37 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, sales of Fairtrade certified cut flowers and young plants topped 1 billion items annually for the first time in 2021.
The financial benefits of Fairtrade include Fairtrade Minimum Prices, which serve as a safety net for when market prices fall, and the Fairtrade Premium, which is an extra amount on top of selling price that producer organizations democratically decide how to spend. In 2021, coffee producers earned more than €82 million in Fairtrade Premium, while cocoa and banana producers surpassed €49 million and €34 million respectively. The Fairtrade Premium has provided more than €1.5 billion in value to farmers and workers over the past decade to invest in their businesses and communities.
“At Fairtrade, our work is wholly focused on building a level playing field for nearly 2 million farmers and agricultural workers from around the world so that they too can have equitable access to global markets,” explained Sandra Uwera, Global CEO of Fairtrade International.
“This year’s annual report is a confirmation of the strength of the farmers and workers who have confronted challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and are building back, with Fairtrade’s support.”
Fairtrade’s annual report also captures the ongoing resilience of farmers and workers, as rising inflation, higher farming and transport costs, and the effects of climate change impact their livelihoods. Despite logistical challenges and rising production costs, Fairtrade coffee, banana and sugarcane growers saw sales hold steady in 2021. Commercial successes for Fairtrade certified farmers were also evident in 2021, according to the report. More than 2,500 companies used the Fairtrade mark on more than 37,000 products sold globally while Fairtrade products remained accessible to consumers in 143 countries.
Against that backdrop, the report also hones in on Fairtrade’s contribution to decent and sustainable livelihoods, highlighting progress in living income reference prices and programmes, as well as the adoption of climate resilient farming practices by more than 500 producer organizations. Fairtrade carbon credits also reached a milestone in the 2021-2022 biennium, with more than 650,000 tonnes of carbon offset through Fairtrade projects in Burkina Faso, India, Lesotho, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Peru.
In a similar vein, the report also spotlights the critical role Fairtrade-led partnerships play in empowering producers to unlock greater benefits. Funding partnerships with governments and companies deliver the necessary resources to respond to urgent needs, advocate for trade justice, and test and scale up innovations with farmers and workers. In one particular instance, Fairtrade together with government and corporate partners raised more than €15 million in COVID-19 relief and resilience funds, which were used in 2020 and 2021 by 667 producer organizations to benefit more than 800,000 farmers and workers.
“The urgency to accelerate our work is enormous and the scope is ambitious. As ever, we recognize the many farmers, workers, businesses and supporters who are doing their part each and every day to make the world a fairer place,” said Melissa Duncan, Fairtrade International’s Executive Director. “Our annual report helps us renew our call for everyone to do their part, making choices that build resilience, ensure sustainability, and support the planet for future generations.”