Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Opinion: Does ‘Fair Trade’ exist in Africa?

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Fred Dzakpata
Fred Dzakpata is a Ghanaian journalist who specializes in business reporting in Africa.
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A lot of initiatives are being implemented by African governments to rake in more foreign direct investments from commodities their countries export abroad.

In 2000 the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the US government was rolled out to open up it’s market to about 40 African countries to trade in selected products including textiles.

In 2018 African leaders met in Rwanda to sign onto the much touted African Continental Free Trade agreement. It was meant to open up trading among African countries.

Despite these initiatives, little is known about Fairtrade which is to help create more value for producers on the continent.

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade advocates for better working conditions and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries especially in Africa.

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The objective of Fairtrade is to ensure producers of cocoa, tea, honey and banana etc improve upon their conditions of trade.

Additionally the Fairtrade Charter seeks to achieve a world in which justice, equity and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures, business models and practices so that everyone, through their work can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full potential.

Some of the products under Faitrade in Africa includes Cocoa, Coffee, bananas tea, sugar, wine, handcrafts, textile, body and cosmetic products, cashew nuts and flowers.

Available statistics revealed that Ghana for instance raked in about $10 million in terms of premium alone from fairtrade in 2017.

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In 2016, Fair Trade producers in Africa registered a total turnover of over $320 million. In Kenya, the combined turnover of producers was about $65 million for the same period.

These funds go back to producers who have signed onto the Fairtrade whiles a portion is used to embark on development projects in the farming communities.

Challenges

The major challenge confronting Fairtrade is that little or no knowledge exist about the charter in Africa.

Out of ten people you come across in countries that have signed onto Fairtrade, only one person may have knowledge about Fairtrade.

This makes it difficult for consumers in Africa to support this laudable initiatives.

As officials of Fairtrade prepare to extend the policy to cover commodities such as gold on the continent, it would be imperative for them to roll out an intensive educational campaign on Fairtrade on the continent.

This will ensure that the populace patronize goods under Fairtrade when they visit major supermarkets and malls in their respective countries.

 

 

Author: Fred Dzakpata (Business news writer, Africafeeds.com)

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