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Fairtrade farmers see rise in earnings

Kenyan farmers under the Fairtrade umbrella- an international marketing organisation - expect their premiums to triple this season from last year’s pay-out of Sh460 million. File
Kenyan farmers under the Fairtrade umbrella- an international marketing organisation - expect their premiums to triple this season from last year’s pay-out of Sh460 million. File 

Kenyan farmers under the Fairtrade umbrella- an international marketing organisation - expect their premiums to triple this season from last year’s pay-out of Sh460 million.

The German-based Fairtrade Network guarantees minimum prices and premiums for delivered agricultural produce, on condition that farmers observe specified quality standards in the whole production chain.

Africa Fairtrade Network has 53 producing members in Kenya.

Last year, the flower sector received the bulk of the premiums, Sh300 million, tea farmers earned Sh144 million and coffee producers Sh16 million.

The value of premiums paid varies depending on the type of goods delivered to fair-trade.

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For example premium for tea is $ 0.50 per kilo, flowers are paid at 10 per cent of the sales value and for coffee is paid at $ 0.25 per kilo.

Premiums

Producer organisations are guaranteed a Fairtrade premium, which is a mandatory amount above the cost of the goods delivered.

Producers have a joint board made up of management and a majority of elected worker representatives decide how to use the premium.

Common projects financed using the premiums paid to producer organisations have been building of schools, dispensaries, social centres, conducting of family seminars and HIV/Aids awareness programmes.

Ndumberi Coffee Co-operative Society in Kiambu County received Sh960,000 ($12,000) last year, which it has used to distribute clean water in staff houses, provide drugs for staff dispensary and build three modern toilets.

In previous years, it used the funds to improve the road network to ease access to its factory.  Raymond Gitau the chair of the board of directors of the society said the membership has helped them as they do not go through the auction process to sell their coffee, but have direct access to the international markets. This has reduced the long chain of middle-men resulting in better prices.

Africa Fairtrade Network executive director, Michael Nkonu, said Fairtrade focuses on helping farmers and workers improve the quality of their lives by giving them more control of their produce by guaranteeing minimum prices.

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