The growth of fair trade in South Africa over the last few years has been exponential. There are currently over 50 agricultural entities producing fruit, wine, tea and other goods for the international fair trade market. The small-scale farmers and farm-workers producing these goods are the direct beneficiaries of the system.
But there is more to fair trade than just money, and in practice, small-farmers and farm-workers are weakly represented in fair trade's governance structures. In 2005 a small group of South African fair trade beneficiaries decided to establish the Association for Fairness in Trade (AFIT), an exclusive network to represent their interests.
To provide a platform for members to share knowledge, and unify their voice
To lobby for better representation of small-farmers and farm-workers interests in the fair trade system and fair trade governance
To build capacity the develop the skills needed to maximise the developmental benefits of the fair trade stystem
To provide mutual solidarity and support
Membership of AFIT is open to any small-farmer organisation or farm-worker organisation producing for, or planning to produce for the fair trade market. While most members are from farms with FLO accreditation, this is not a requirement.
Members are invited to regular training and capacity-building events, and are encouraged to participate in developing statements and positions regarding the fair trade system's operations and governence. Members also assist one another in establishing sustainable and beneficial social projects funded by fair trade premiums; and work to ensure that fair trade certified farms live up to their public committment of good labour practices, fair wages and transformation in the agricultural sector.
The AFIT Committee is made up of a representative mix of small-scale farmers and farm-workers, men and women, and geographic location. The Commitee is elected at the annual AGM. The current Chair is Sidney Le Fleur from the Ericaville Farmers Trust.
Comic Relief UK funds the bulk of AFIT's activities
For more information, contact:
Denile Samuels (AFIT Co-ordinator) Tel: 021 448 2881; Fax: 021 448 2922
Sidney le Fleur (AFIT Chair) Tel: 076 243 4113 or 082 226 9467