Over 100 groups and individuals applied or were nominated for the Fairtrade Awards. The eight winners, selected by an independent panel, include small producers, workers’ committees, traders, and individuals.
The panel of judges was impressed by the breadth and diversity of the entries, from small producer organizations to large plantations, from organizers in small towns working to build a local Fairtrade market all the way to multi-million dollar companies from every continent that Fairtrade serves.
“It was so telling that Fairtrade really is a movement, because it’s found support from such a broad spectrum of people,” said Jennifer Stapper, Chief of the Communications Section at UN Volunteers who served on the panel of judges. “I noticed a lot of people within the movement or people working on two different sides of the world who were nominating each other. It was a real sign of respect across borders.”
The panel of judges included:
David Lukwata, Manager of Kibinge Coffee Farmers Cooperative, came to Germany to personally accept his co-op’s award for Small Producer Organization in Africa. “I’m very happy to be here,” he said beaming. “This is a proud and special moment for me and all the members of our cooperative”.
Kibinge Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society, Ltd has set up a savings and credit scheme to provide credit to members and non-members at an affordable rate. They have also set up a farm supply shop giving members access farm inputs closer to their communities. The shop also offers technical information and good advice on the safe use of chemicals and fertilizers. Kibinge has also performed extremely well in complying with the Fairtrade Standards.
Other finalists included: Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union, Ltd in Malawi, and the Imenti Tea Factory Company, Ltd. in Kenya.
The workers at Harvest LTD launched an ambitious 5-year strategic plan focused on gender and environmental protection just one year after becoming Fairtrade certified. Their Premium money has been dedicated to supporting public schools in the community, with extra support to ensure girls can attend. They also have a fast growing nursery for trees, which are planted alongside the River Athi to protect and improve the surrounding ecosystem.
Other finalists included: Liki River Farm – Longonot Horticulture Division in Kenya, and the Volta River Estates Limited (VREL) in Ghana.
Members of MOPA dedicate 75 percent of their Fairtrade Premium to fund projects proposed by the farmers themselves. Their primary focus is on improving productivity and product quality, and sustainable production methods, as well as on improving the living conditions of the farmers and their personal development.
Other finalists included: Manarcadu Social Service Society in India, and KSU Gayo Mandiri in Indonesia.
The workers in the Stassen Bio Tea Project have elected to invest in essential transport services that are key to improving the lives of people in the communities. The purchase of a bus that runs three times a day to the nearest town – a distance of 12 kilometres – provides community members with improved access to work, education, health care, and improved shopping options. The bus has dramatically improved school attendance and access to many other services.
Other finalists included: The Coonoor Tea Estates Company Ltd in India, and Thiashola Estate, Thiashola Plantations Private Ltd in India.
The coffee farmers in this cooperative have created a detailed plan for how they will invest their Fairtrade Premium in social projects, and increase workers’ welfare, and productivity. The organization has worked hard to reduce its non-conformities with the Fairtrade Standards and achieved an average of 4.1 in the Fairtrade Development Standards.
Other finalists included: Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples Bananera del Atlántico of Panama and Cooperativa Central de Caficultores del Huila of Colombia.
The Rosalba Zapata Cardona Housing Project has not only created dignified living spaces for 397 workers and their families, but also gainful employment for many more in the surrounding area. For workers that have their own piece of land, but lack the funds necessary to build housing, the Corporation offers support for home improvements.
Other finalists included: Fundación de Trabajadores de Comercio Justo de Urabá in Colombia, and the Asociación Civil Flores del Monte in Argentina.
Fairest Trader: All Good Organics, trading as Karma Cola in New Zealand
All Good Organics is a 100 percent Fairtrade company producing a range of three Fairtrade soft drinks, including Karma Cola – the first Fairtrade organic cola, Gingerella and Lemmy Lemonade. Karma Cola is an innovative product that is giving cola nut farmers in Sierra Leone an international profile and a market for a crop that has only been traded locally in the past.
Other finalists included: Armstrong Knitting Mills of India, and Cooperative Coffees in North America.
Dr. Ranaweera is a Fairtrade pioneer in Sri Lanka. In 1993 he set up Bio Foods (Pvt) Ltd, a company that processes and exports organic teas, spices, rice and other products. Upon seeing the difficulties that producers in Sri Lanka were facing, he formed the Small Organic Farmers’ Association (SOFA) in 1997. Bio Foods supports the small farmers of SOFA with training in organic farming practices and guarantees purchase of their products. The certification of Bio Foods as a Fairtrade exporter in 1997 and SOFA as a Fairtrade small producer organization in 1998 revolutionized the local agricultural system and social development of farmers, their families and the community.
Other finalists included: Chiraz Skhiri of the Fairtrade International Producer Support and Relations Unit, and Theonestina Mwasha who is working with artisanal gold miners in Africa.
Look out for individual stories on each of the winning organizations on our website throughout 2014.