Although hired labourers represent only a small proportion of the overall number of Fairtrade farmers and workers, we are working hard to make sure they get a fairer share of the economic benefits of trade.
The overwhelming majority of hired labourers – nine out of every ten – worked in Fairtrade-certified organizations in Asia and the Pacific and in Africa and the Middle East. Only seven percent worked in Latin America, although 2015 saw a rapid growth in that region. This was mainly due to more workers being employed by producer organizations in the vegetables sector.
In terms of numbers of workers, tea and flowers remained the most significant products in 2015, accounting for more than 80 percent of the total workers in the system.
Compared with 2014, there was modest growth in the number of hired workers on banana plantations – up two percent. Flowers remained stable and tea experienced a drop of six percent.
Despite considerable growth in the number of workers on vegetable plantations, other products such as wine grapes and fresh fruit saw an overall drop in numbers, leading to a slight decrease in the aggregated Fairtrade category of “other products”.
Not surprisingly, the concentration of specific Fairtrade products in particular countries is reflected in the number of workers per country. For example, 88 percent of tea plantation workers are located in India, Sri Lanka and Malawi, while 89 percent of flower farm workers are in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania. For banana plantations, 80 percent of hired labourers work in Ghana, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.