Peru & Ecuador November 2014
Third Andean Summit for Fair Trade – Machala, Ecuador
Last November, Discovery Organics was invited to take part in the 3rd Andean summit for Fair Trade.
More than 250 producers travelled to Machala, the banana capital of the world last November 20th, 21rst. All committed coops in Peru, Bolivia, Columbia and Ecuador had a delegation to take part in this annual summit.
We were also part of the event sponsors. The financial support helped to organize the event but also to keep registration fees low to maximize attendance.
As for the ‘non-Andeans’ participants:
- NGOS: the French Agronomist and Veterinarians without Borders and International Solidarity for Development and Investment and the Belgian Trias
- Traders: the French coop Ethiquable, the Americans Equal Exchange and Discovery Organics representing Canada
- The Small Producers Symbol
An inspiring gathering for a movement where producers have a voice, women are presidents and young producers included in the decision making.
Reaching and maintaining Democracy requires a lot of efforts and sometimes a lot of resilience too. We are convinced that one of the pillars of Fair Trade is producer leadership and their participation in the decision making at higher instances. One of the mission of the Fair Trade movement is to break away from a neo-colonial model where ‘the Global North’ decides for ‘the Global South’.
“Fair trade remains a social movement. Social movements require permanent fight in order to progress in the right direction. Fair trade help us to understand the reality and helps us progress further”
MORE OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE IN FAIR TRADE AND MORE FAIR TRADE IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
For more than 20 years, CLAC, the Latin American and Caribbean Fair Trade Producer Network has been a powerful contributor of the success of the International Fair Trade movement. CLAC, with the 2 other producers networks (Fairtrade Africa and NAP for Asia) played a major role in the fact that producers sit on the board of Fairtrade International today. CLAC is probably the most dynamic and pro-active producers network in the FLO system.
CLAC has established itself as a dynamic leader, thinking forward and making good progress. CLAC initiated the Small Producer Symbol, the first certifier where standards are designed by small producers for small producers. About 3 years ago, CLAC had to externalize the management of SPP to FUNDEPPO (Foundation for Small producers’ organizations). SPP is still in its early stage and Discovery Organics is in the process of getting recertified and promote this label in Canada, alongside with FLO certified products.
CLAC’s main challenges
TASK 1: Although there is other initiatives of certification (SPP, FTUSA), it is crucial to stay coherent and united to promote the FT movement, preserve its values and stand strong against conventional trade
TASK 2: Grow the FT market and maintain accurate data to know what is available and what we can offer
TASK 3: Communicate better on the impact of FT
There is still confusion from the consumers that don’t necessarily have enough knowledge to distinguish between other ‘ethical’ labels like UTZ or Rainforest Alliance.
In 2014, Latin America counts 14 national networks coordinating all the Fair Trade coops within each country. Such network make the Fair Trade movement more accessible to other coops and help them to benefit from government funded export/marketing support. They coordinate and catalyze the efforts of every coop and foster a discussion on the need for more and better measures and incentives to promote Fair Trade on a national level. They offer a coherent approach within each country but also ensure policy homogeneity and a consensus on problematic faced by their Latin American counterpart. Those networks are also consulted when CLAC or Fairtrade International are updating standards and price review. The current burning issue is unfair competition between hired labour organizations and small farmers’ organizations.
AN INSPIRING GATHERING
The Andean summit has been, for the 3rd year, the opportunity to participate in different workshops addressing different theme or problematic as well as share ideas and expertise on how to tackle a specific issue that is met by producers in different countries. Talks on the future of the Fairtrade movement, the recent updates on certification, the perspectives from European or North American traders are complementing the workshop sessions.
Here is the full program.
The focus of this annual gathering revolves around what sort of Fair Trade do we want for small producers? What are the challenges of fair trade on both national and international levels? What is the best strategy to reinforce the producers’ organizations? How can public policies contribute to strengthening the fair trade movement?
This summit aimed at reaffirming the unity of voice for Andean platform within the CLAC network. The final declaration announces meaningful statements.
- CLAC status – the Andean platform is soliciting the approval of a technical task force for each country to offer more appropriate solutions, taking into considerations different specificities, climate characteristics, etc. (public announcement scheduled for March 31rst 2015)
- Andean Platform – will be represented by presidents for national coordination in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru and the Colombian Initiative for Colombia. Their mission is to i) encourage discussion between producers and higher instances of the Fair Trade movement ii) having a representative sitting on the board of CLAC iii)Ensure that the agreements reached at the end of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Andean summits are carried through iv) Implement the management
- Coffee – The Andean platform is inviting governments and any public institutions to support both financially and with technical assistance the efforts of coffee producers to fight against the negative impact of climate change on the production of coffee
- Quinoa – The Andean platform is highlighting the efforts to preserve quinoa as a high nutritional value and is working on a certificate of origin for Andean quinoa.