Fairtrade continues to grow steadily in Asia and the Pacific despite significant challenges, especially in the tea and sports balls sectors. Fairtrade is also driving positive changes in the producer organizations by enabling them to gain greater control over their supply chain. Vietnamese coffee producers at Ea Kiet Fair Agriculture Cooperative are a good example of this. Thanks to Fairtrade, the farmers are now processing and commercializing the coffee they produce.
Fairtrade grew by seven percent in Asia and the Pacific in 2015, and – for the first time – the number of Fairtrade-certified producer organizations reached 200, spread across 19 countries. Of these, 129 were small producer organizations; 18 were contract production organizations, and 53 were plantations or sports ball factories.
In terms of proportions sold under Fairtrade conditions, seed cotton, rice and coffee represent the main products in the region. But in revenue terms, coffee is the most lucrative – at 53 percent – from both Fairtrade and non-Fairtrade sales. Cane sugar, herbs and spices, seed cotton, tea and rice account for 43 percent of revenues.
Despite being the biggest region geographically, only 15 percent of all Fairtrade farmers and hired workers live in Asia and the Pacific. Half of all Fairtrade hired labourers worldwide are in Asia and the Pacific, working mainly on tea plantations and in sport ball factories.
The Fairtrade Premium earned by producers in Asia and the Pacific grew by eight percent to €11.6 million euro in 2014-15. However, that represents just ten percent of global Fairtrade Premium revenues.
Coffee still receives the highest Premium share in the region – although its share fell in 2014-15. It was followed by cane sugar whose share was up mainly due to an increase in Premiums earned by producers in Fiji.
Only nine percent of the global Fairtrade Premium earned by hired labour organizations flows to this region. This reflects the continuing challenges for tea and sports ball producers to sell more under Fairtrade terms.
Sixty-nine percent of the Fairtrade Premium earned by the region was received by producer organizations in just three countries – Fiji, India and Indonesia. Indonesia is the most important coffee-producing country in the region with 63 percent of Fairtrade sales in Asia and the Pacific.
In 2015, Fairtrade staff in Asia and the Pacific made 278 visits to producers – 42 percent of them to producers in China and South East Asia; 35 percent to producers in Sri Lanka and Central Asia.
Overall Fairtrade staff held 104 workshops, training sessions and meetings and enabled 43 producer organizations to attend trade and marketing events.