Fairtrade Producer Organizations – the small-scale farmers at the heart of Fairtrade and who co-own the system – remain relatively stable and show modest growth in some areas.
The data shows that by the end of 2015, there were more than 1.66 million Fairtrade farmers and workers. The vast majority of these – almost 1.46 million farmers – were members of Fairtrade small producer or contract production organizations. A total of around 196,000 people worked in Fairtrade-certified hired labour organizations such as flower farms, tea or banana plantations.
There was moderate growth overall this year as the total number of farmers and workers increased by one percent on the figure for 2014. But, while the overall figure increased, the number of hired workers globally went down by four percent. This was mainly due to Fairtrade tea plantations in the Asia Pacific region reporting a fall in membership numbers.
Latin America and the Caribbean showed the strongest growth in 2015 both in percentage and absolute terms. There, the number of farmers and workers grew by six percent to nearly 18,000. This growth was concentrated in coffee production, particularly in Colombia and Peru where a number of new producer organizations joined the system.
Globally, coffee, tea, and cocoa remain the most significant products. Together, they account for more than eight out of ten of all of the farmers and workers in the Fairtrade system.