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Africa’s farmers and workers to meet on trade and development

Themed ‘Producers, leading the future of trade’ the convention will be held virtually with the objective to discuss improvement of value chains , trade relations and conditions which translate to sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers in Africa.

Nairobi, June, 2021 Farmers in Africa have lost 80 percent of their revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fairtrade Africa Programmes Director Chris Oluoch says the pandemic has also seen many workers lose their jobs, as companies closed shop due to lack of access to markets as most countries closed their borders.

Most affected was the flower sector where a number of flower farms shut down their businesses.

“In  Kenya about three flower farms completely shut down their business, while in Tanzania, two farms closed shop. The effects of the pandemic continue to cause havoc on the agriculture sector in  the region that is already suffering from post harvest losses,” said Oluoch.

Oluoch was speaking on Tuesday, 15th June 2021 during a virtual press conference of the 7th Edition of the Africa Fairtrade Convention

Themed ‘Producers, Leading the Future of Trade’ the convention will be held virtually from 22nd to 25th June 2021, with the objective to discuss improvement of  value chains trade relations and   conditions which translate to sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers in Africa.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a wake-up call for governments to increase their investment in protecting African farmers against these losses. There is need to radically transform our food systems to make them more efficient and sustainable,” Oluoch added.

The convention will culminate in the 2nd Edition of the Fair Ngoma Awards that recognises outstanding  farmers and workers.

Farmers and workers will share best practices in a bid to build understanding of production in the region with key topics including access to markets, the role of standards and benefits of value addition, as well as issues relating to unlocking trade and investment opportunities, market trends and sustainable and viable supply chains.

“The convention which is being held virtually, will include deal rooms, networking lounges, virtual farm tours, virtual exhibitions, breakaway sessions, as well discussions on upcoming market regulation; the impact of new rules for the certification of organic grower groups in developing countries supplying the growing EU organic market,” said Dr Argent Chuula, Executive Director at Fairtrade Africa. It will attract over 1500 participants from 99 countries within 5 continents.

Among the participants expected to attend include trade organisations, finance and microfinance institutions, government representatives, traders and buyers. Fairtrade system members as well as Fairtrade Africa member farmers and workers. Key partners for the conference include the European Union and Fairtrade Deutchland.

Africa Fairtrade Convention is a Flagship event organized by Fairtrade Africa (FTA). It is a gathering of producers, traders, partner organizations, Fairtrade movement, government, policy makers among other stakeholders.

The 2nd Edition of the Fair Ngoma Awards will see producers win different awards in the 14 categories under consideration, 5 for hired labour, 5 for small producer organizations and 4 specials awards.

The awards are named the FAIR (Fairtrade Africa Impact Recognition) Ngoma Awards. Ngoma is a Swahili word meaning drums. Drums are a revered instrument in Africa with a rich history and play a significant role in the definition of the African culture. Its influence resonates across the continent bringing togetherness, a common pulse and a common rhythm. We drum to recognize the fruit of their labour and farming as a business, we drum to recognize the role they individually play in determining their own destiny!

The 7th Edition of the Africa Fairtrade Convention and 2nd Edition of the Fair Ngoma Awards are co-funded by the European Union through the project “Unlocking the Power of Producers and Workers to Drive Inclusive Trade and Development through Fairtrade”. This project is being implemented across the Fairtrade system to strengthen its governance systems, promote inclusion and efficiency within the system and increase the system’s capacity to implement advocacy actions to better support producers and workers.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa add up to $4 billion annually.

Across Africa, the vast majority of food loss happens between harvest and the point of sale – very little is wasted by consumers after purchase. Some of the leading causes of food loss in Africa are a lack of cold chain facilities especially for perishables, unreliable and inadequate storage facilities and insufficient agro-processing skills among smallholder farming communities.

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ABOUT FAIRTRADE AFRICA

Fairtrade Africa, a member of the wider International Fairtrade movement that represents Fairtrade certified producers in Africa and the Middle East. Fairtrade Africa operates four regional networks: Eastern and Central Africa Network (FTA-ECAN) based in Nairobi, Kenya; West Africa Network (FTA-WAN) based in Accra, Ghana, Southern Africa Network (FTA-SAN) based in Cape Town, South Africa and the Middle East and North Africa Network. Its secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Fairtrade Africa is owned by its members, who are African producer organizations certified against international Fairtrade standards producing traditional export commodities such as coffee, cocoa, tea, cotton, bananas, mango and non-traditional commodities including shea butter and rooibos tea. Currently, the organization represents over 1 million producers across 33 countries in Africa.

ABOUT FAIRTRADE INTERNATIONAL

Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries. Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing 1.7 million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 30,000 products. Beyond certification, Fairtrade International and its member organizations empower producers, partner with businesses, engage consumers and advocate for a fair and sustainable future.

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Graduate Farmer aims is to empower young men and women from becoming job seekers to creators through the agribusiness value chain.

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