About Fair Trade

Producer Stories


Fairtrade Flower

Rosemary comes from a small town called Naivasha, Kenya. She is a widow and a mother of three. Rosemary is a supervisor at Panda Flowers Limited and was the head of the gender committee at Panda Flowers for 6 years.


Rosemary thinks that a stable career and a secure income are very important for a single parent, especially in the Kenyan flower industry, women are facing many difficulties such as discrimination, low salaries and poor workplace conditions.


Each Fairtrade flower farm in Kenya has its own committee promoting gender equality. The Gender Committee ensures the equal treatment of every worker, and ensures that any acts of harassment or racism does not occur. It also makes great effort to seal the self-perception of the women workers through providing the people with knowledge about gender.


Panda Flowers has been selected as one of the first 12 flower farms in the world to participate in the Floralife Spotlight Program, a program that aims to bond buyers with growers to let the buyers appreciate the efforts put in flower production.


Fairtrade Premiums made on sales are being financed on workers and community welfare projects, leading to benefits for the people in the community. As for Rosemary herself, working on a Fairtrade certified farm has given Rosemary her own house and the ability to send her two sons to university.


Women in the community also have a safe place to give birth to their child, due to the maternity clinic at Lake Navasha that was partly funded by Fairtrade Premium money. The farm has also established a staff welfare program, including a posho mill and a consumer shop, where the workers can acquire daily basic food supplies.

Masauko Khembo

Fairtrade Cane Sugar

Masauko Khembo lives in Malawi with his wife Naomie and their children. Their son Dennis (14 years old) and daughter Melpha (12 years old) attend high school and Ethan (5 years old) is in primary school. 


Massauko joined Illovo Sugar, where Kasinthula sends its sugar cane for milling, straight from university. He worked in Illovo for 13 years, and eventually became an agronomist (a middle management position). He became a member of Kasinthua in October 2010.


Compared with the chocolate made in South Africa, Masauko thinks that the Divine chocolate tastes better.


Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Southern Africa. 85% of the population makes a living out of agriculture. Yet, the development of the sugar sector is constrained by high input costs, poor infrastructure and the lack of agricultural support services.


Kasinthula Cane Growers Association (KCG) is a smallholder sugar cane project, taking place in the Shire River Valley District of Chikwawa in the south of Malawi. Its major aim is to convert the unproductive land to sugar cane production in order to increase the supply of raw cane to the mill and provide an income for farmers who are struggling to make a living.


Although the KCG project was threatened by enormous and rising debts from the start, it is making progress in repaying the debt with support from the government and good management.


In 2002, KCG was Fairtrade certified. It is now supplying sugar to companies in the UK, Europe and the US on Fairtrade terms. On top of the contract price for the sugar cane, Fairtrade sales make an extra Fairtrade Premium of $60 a ton of sugar that is stipulated for community development projects.




Fairtrade Banana

Foncho began banana farming when he was 10 years old, while helping out his father. Now, he makes a living out of banana farming and works for 12-13 hours a day to make his business work. Foncho lives with his wife, daughter (19 years old) and their son Sebastian (15 years old). He loves spending time with his family in Departamento del Magdalena, Colombia.


Foncho is a member of Coobafrio Co-operative (Riofrio Banana Co-operative), which was founded by his father and other farmers in the late 1990s. It was created so that they could negotiate better prices with their buyers by joining together and selling their bananas as a group.


80% of employment in Magdalena is provided by the banana industry. However, large-scale palm oil plantations are now displacing bananas leading to the loss of many jobs.


Farmers were pressured to sell their land, and some brutal landowners were even diverting water from the farmers’ land to force them to sell. Farmers were also challenged by the high cost of fertilizers, small size of farms and adverse weather conditions.


Coobafrio was Fairtrade certified in 2011. Co-operative members sell two-thirds of their 240,000 boxes of bananas produced every year as Fairtrade. On top of the minimum price, there is an additional Fairtrade Premium of $1.00 a box invested for business and community development.


The most effective use of the premium has been the distribution of subsidized fertilizers and the organization of training programs to improve farmers’ technical knowledge.


Almost 100% of the members stated that they have experienced improvements in the quality of life and economic situations, and felt that they have greater control over their futures.


Fairtrade Coffee

Gerardo Arias Camacho is a coffee farmer and a board member of his local Llano Bonito coffee co-operative.


He is married with three children. His oldest son is in college, and his two other children are receiving school education. He also said that with the help of Fairtrade, they might all be able to go to university and get a degree.


Gerardo was born and raised on the family coffee farm. However, back in 1988, coffee prices fell dramatically and his father had no other choice but to pull him and his two school-age brothers out of school, unable to pay for the costs.


Gerardo worked for eight years in New Jersey and finally earned a sufficient amount of money to purchase the family farm from his parents. He believes that his cooperative would have been out of business if it were not for Fairtrade. Currently, he is satisfied that he can support his family on the land where he was born.


COOCAFE’s (El Consorcio de Cooperativas Cafetaleras de Guanacaste y Montes de Oro R.L.) mission is to endorse the development of communities through environmentally sustainable coffee production. It processes, markets and exports its members’ coffee. It also supports diversification of income sources to lessen dependency on coffee, and create employment.


COOCAFE has been Fairtrade certified since 1989 and sold around 1,100 tons to Fairtrade buyers in 2010. For these sales, it receives the Fairtrade Minimum Price of 140 cents/lb, and the Fairtrade Premium of 20 cents/lb to invest in business development and community or environmental programs.


The Fairtrade premium has been invested in a wide variety of projects, such as reforestation, replacement of ageing coffee trees, and scholarships for farmers’ children.