Fairtrade Africa cushions farmers from Covid-19 effects with funds

KENYA – Fairtrade Africa Network, member of the International Fairtrade movement that focuses on promoting the lives of farmers and workers through trade, has announced a 600,000 Euros (US$677,000) fund to support Kenyan farmers from the adverse effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Fairtrade Africa would like to inform all Fairtrade certified producers Euros 600,000 (US$677,000) has been allocated for disbursement to support vulnerable producers and workers in the region,” the Africa Fairtrade Network announced in a statement.

The fund, which is divided into the ‘Fairtrade Africa Producer Relief Fund’ and the ‘Fairtrade Africa Producer Resilience Fund’, will be directed into safety and livelihood programmes.

According to a report by the Business Daily, it will finance the purchase of masks and basic protective and medical equipment, wage payments, food security initiatives, awareness of safety campaigns and business continuity costs.

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The Resilience Fund is established to meet the longer-term needs of producers as they begin to look at life post COVID-19 such as business restoration and technology-based capacity building.

It is also aimed to address human rights risks in value chains through programmatic interventions, support for strengthening finances to tackle future risks, and advocacy.

This comes at a time when the country’s horticulture industry is struggling to cope with decline in overseas orders amid cancellation of flights as well as travel restrictions.

Horticulture exports fell seven per cent in 2019 to Sh142.72 billion (US$1.3 bn) from Sh154.7 billion (US$1.45m).

Fairtrade is an association of three Producer Networks in Latin America and The Caribbeans; Africa and Middle East; Asia and Pacific, 19 National Fairtrade Organizations and 8 Fairtrade Marketing Organizations that promote and market the Fairtrade Certification Mark in their countries.

Established in 2005, Fairtrade Africa represents African producer organisations 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 organisation represents over 1,050,000 producers across 33 countries in Africa.

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