New Fairtrade Herbs-and-Spices Standard
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
As the economic crisis pushes more farmers in the developing world to the brink, a new standard issued by the international Fairtrade umbrella organization offers thousands of herb and spice farmers access to waiting markets. “Our goal is to extend the benefits of Fairtrade to as many people as possible,” said Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) in Bonn. Responding to more than one hundred requests from farmers in scores of countries, as well as national Fairtrade organizations on three continents to expand the existing range of 25 Fairtrade herbs and spices, FLO amended its existing standard. As a result, Fairtrade certified farmers will be able to offer any type of seed, root, flower or leaf that meets the definition of herb or spice in the new standard.
Producers and traders of herbs and spices have welcomed this change. “The farmers I work with in Vietnam are really excited about the new standard,” says Jaap Brands, a founding member of the Vietnamese Van Chan Bio Farmers Club. “It means they can finally look at stabilizing their incomes by diversifying their product range beyond tea into cinnamon and ginger.” The new standard is also good news for consumers, who can soon expect a rapid increase in the range of Fairtrade herbs and spices in speciality shops and supermarkets.
Despite the economic downturn, consumers around the world are more actively looking for Fairtrade products. This is according to a recent survey carried out in 15 countries by leading research organization GlobeScan. In 2008 consumers spent an estimated 2.9 billion Euros on Fairtrade products globally. Fairtrade sales grew by at least 50 % in seven countries, including Australia and New Zealand (72 %), Canada (67 %), Finland (57 %), Germany (50 %), Norway (73 %), and Sweden (75 %). “So far we’ve had ten organizations producing Fairtrade herbs and spices,” said Rob Cameron. “The changes we have made are in direct response to what farmers want. That’s why I am sure that within a year, we will have considerably more farming families benefiting from the Fairtrade vision.”
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