The Fairtrade organization in Europe has announced it has secured more than €15m ($17.5m) in extra funds to help its cocoa farmers and other producers fight COVID-19.
With the next wave already in sight, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have severe effects on farmers, workers and communities in the world’s poorest countries, it said in a statement.
Fairtrade COVID-19 relief funds
The €15million in funding is slated to cover a period of two years and will go towards a range of short-term relief and long-term recovery measures across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. It will help small-scale producers initiate and carry out programs to prevent the spread of COVID-19, ensure food security, secure and increase incomes by diversifying crops and markets, address human rights risks in supply chains and improve digital technologies as the foundations for recovery and future business resilience. More than 1,700 producer organizations, representing over 1.8 million farmers and workers, are part of the Fairtrade system worldwide.
Fairtrade has reported that there is evidence of reporting cancellations of orders, increasing prices, dropping demand and disruptions in supply chains due to restrictions on movement and transportation in its system.
The mobilization of the additional Fairtrade Recovery and Resilience funds comes as producers and communities are faced with balancing crucial public safety measures with maintaining jobs and business continuity.
“If we don’t act now and act quickly, the crisis can turn back progress that has been very hard to achieve,” said Mary Kinyua, Fairtrade International Board Chair, “Having this financial support is going to make a huge difference in what we can do to help producers recover from this crisis, build economic resilience into their businesses and assist their communities – especially where it’s needed most.”
Responding to the needs of farming communities impacted by COVID-19, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in cooperation with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ); Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO); British Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO); impact investor Incofin IM; and others, have partnered with Fairtrade International, national Fairtrade organizations, and Fairtrade Producer Networks to pledge more than €15 million to Fairtrade’s Producer Relief and Resilience Funds.
The two funding mechanisms were launched in May as an immediate response with an initial investment of €3.1m from the Fairtrade system.
Fairtrade said the overall goal of the funding is to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the health, wellbeing and economic sustainability of Fairtrade producers and their communities.
Dr Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for BMZ, said: “COVID-19 makes it clear how closely connected we are in the world and how vulnerable we are. The poorest people in developing and emerging countries need our solidarity - especially in times of crisis. I am grateful that, together with our long-standing partners in Fairtrade, we have succeeded in providing rapid support to small farmers who produce sustainably.”