i
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION .........................................................................................
ii
LIST OF TABLES:
Table 1: Types of evidence as identified by Yin...........................................................
iii
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Line graph indicating the Arabica coffee market 1989-2010: Comparison of
Fairtrade and New Y...
1
1. INTRODUCTION
Fair Trade represents an important new approach to alleviating poverty of producers
based on a strategy ...
2
consumers’ perspective, the focus will be on the marketing and strategy used to compete
and create demand as well as mai...
3
representative had the knowledge required for the interview as well as facilitated the
discussion. Ms. G. Dlamini is the...
4
Different types of cases are identified by Yin (1993) and an exploratory case will be used
for this case because it is o...
5
From 1 October 2012, price guarantees for ACP sugar were removed and replaced with a
negotiated market-related price (Ri...
6
focused on the EU markets.
Fairtrade in Swaziland has been in commencement since 2008 with the first farmers being
certi...
7
producers through the use of standards and a price floor (Johannessen & Wilhite,
2010:525; Valkila, 2009:3018).
 Fair T...
8
5. PRODUCER PERSPECTIVE
The producers are the main focus of Fairtrade. Fair Trade supports producers in securing
better ...
9
5.1.1 Guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price
According to Reinecke, Fair Trade assumes that the bargaining price amongst pro...
10
drop to less than US$ 0.8 per pound. In October 2001 a thirty year low was to devastate
farmers. In what is now known a...
11
industries are commodity products in which the producers are not reaping the benefits of
trade, both are characterised ...
12
A large difference with the Fair Trade sugar is the fact that there is no guaranteed
minimum price. This is because of ...
13
5.1.2.1. Socio-Economic Fairtrade Benefits
Small-scale farmers benefit from Fair Trade by enjoying slightly higher and ...
14
implementation of development projects by the use of the premium income which is
decided upon democratically by produce...
15
financial services to producers to face and adapt to environmental and climate change
challenges (FLO, 2011c:3; Ceval, ...
16
and safe use of agrochemicals, proper and safe management of waste, maintenance
of soil fertility and water resources, ...
17
For each area there are minimum requirements that a producer organisation must meet in
order to be certified. There are...
18
representatives, two producer representatives and two trader representatives (Reinecke,
2010:571: FLO, 2013c). This ena...
19
Figure 3: A matrix of a decision-making structure within a cooperative in Swaziland.
Source: Ms. G. Dlamini (2013)
6. C...
20
Brand building and information dissemination are required in order to educate the
consumer and create awareness of the ...
21
7. ISSUES, PROBLEMS AND OBSTACLES
The ultimate impact and sustainability of Fair Trade will depend on addressing these
...
22
Mwali (2013), FLO will have the Fairtrade label and written below is the ingredient that is
Fairtrade certified to comb...
23
8. DISCUSSION
The findings with regard to Swaziland and Fairtrade sugars are as follows: Fairtrade in
Swaziland has bee...
24
A crucial question to ask is will Fairtrade in Swaziland be sustainable?
Although market conditions may be uncertain, a...
25
sustainable production. Without this, farmers are completely at the mercy and are often
affected by the volatility of t...
26
Fairtrade is sensitive for it depends on the sentiment and ethics of the consumers. There is
no reason to doubt that co...
27
10. LIST OF REFERENCES
Bacon, C. 2004. Confronting the coffee crisis: can fair trade, organic and speciality coffees
re...
28
Fairtrade Label South Africa. 2013a. Products. [Online] Available from:
http://www.fairtradelabel.org.za/product/ [Acce...
29
Fridell, G. 2010. Fair Trade, Free Trade and the State, New Political Economy. Taylors
and Francis Online, 15:457-470. ...
30
Agricultural Policy of the European Union." Economics of Agriculture 59.3: 483-498,
[Online] Available from: http://0-a...
31
Science Direct. 37: 1083–1093. [Online] Available from: http://0-ac.els-
cdn.com.innopac.up.ac.za/S0305750X08002994/1-s...
32
Swaziland Sugar Association (SSA), 2013(a). Background [Online] Available from:
http://www.ssa.co.sz/index.php?option=c...
33
http://www.wfp.org/countries/swaziland/overview [Accessed: 2013-10-22].
Yin, R. (1994). Case study research: Design and...
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Is fairtrade a potential poverty alleviation with focus on swaziland sugar industry

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This is the dissertation to accompany the slideshow uploaded on Fairtrade on my profile. Fairtrade is a movement that is really going from strength to strength and I can understand why. This is an amazing model that has the potential to change and uplift individuals lives as well as their community they live in. This is a practical look at Fairtrade in Swaziland particularly with regard to the sugar industry with coffee as the backbone to help the discussion.

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Is fairtrade a potential poverty alleviation with focus on swaziland sugar industry

  1. 1. i TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION ...........................................................................................................1 2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY......................................................................................2 3. HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE SUGAR INDUSTRY: .....................4 3.1. SWAZILAND SUGAR INDUSTRY .............................................................................5 3.2. WHY FAIRTRADE IS NEEDED IN THE SUGAR SECTOR .......................................6 4. WHAT IS FAIRTRADE? .................................................................................................6 5. PRODUCER PERSPECTIVE ........................................................................................8 5.1. TWO MAIN ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF FAIRTRADE FOR PRODUCERS ..............8 5.1.1 Guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price ...................................................................9 5.1.2. Fairtrade Premium .............................................................................................12 5.2. STANDARDS AND CERTIFICATION.......................................................................15 5.2.1. FLO-Cert............................................................................................................16 5.3. EMPOWERMENT....................................................................................................17 6. CONSUMERS PERSPECTIVE ...................................................................................19 6.1. MARKETING AND STRATEGY ...............................................................................19 6.2. MAINSTREAMING...................................................................................................20 7. ISSUES, PROBLEMS AND OBSTACLES ...................................................................21 8. DISCUSSION ..............................................................................................................23 9. CONCLUSION.............................................................................................................24 10. LIST OF REFERENCES..........................................................................................27
  2. 2. ii LIST OF TABLES: Table 1: Types of evidence as identified by Yin....................................................................3
  3. 3. iii LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Line graph indicating the Arabica coffee market 1989-2010: Comparison of Fairtrade and New York Prices ..........................................................................................10 Figure 2: World Raw Sugar Prices 1982-2012 (Monthly Averages)...................................11 Figure 3: A matrix of a decision-making structure within a cooperative in Swaziland…..19
  4. 4. 1 1. INTRODUCTION Fair Trade represents an important new approach to alleviating poverty of producers based on a strategy of “trade not aid” (Fridell, 2010:459; Raynolds, 2000:301; Topik, 2010:146). The growing Fair Trade movement seeks to challenge historically unequal international market relations, transforming North - South trade into an avenue of producer empowerment and poverty alleviation (Raynolds, 2000:2; Reinecke, 2012:567). Markets for Fair Trade labelled coffee and other items link ethically minded Northern consumers with democratically organized groups of poor producers. This offers the disadvantaged producers an opportunity to “increase their control over their own future, have a fair and just return for their work, continuity of income and decent working and living conditions through sustainable development” (FLO, 2013a; Raynolds, 2002:2). Though the international market for Fair Trade products represents only a minor share of global trade, it is growing rapidly. According to the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, shoppers spent £4.8 billion on Fair Trade products and over £80 million estimated premium paid to Fair Trade producers from 2012-2013 (2013:12). The Fair Trade market is poised to expand dramatically over the next decade as labelled commodities become more widely available in mainstream markets and better known amongst consumers. The Fairtrade label is the most recognised ethical label globally (FLO, 2013c:3). The products that are available under the Fairtrade label are: Bananas, Cocoa, Coffee, Cotton, Flowers, Fresh Fruit, Gold, Honey, Juices, Rice, Spices and herbs, Sports balls, Sugar, Tea, Wine and Composite products (FLO, 2011d; FairtradeSA, 2013b). Coffee, the first labelled commodity, remains the backbone of the Fair Trade system (Tropik, 2004:147; Raynolds, 2002: 4; Bacon: 2004: 501) and will be used as an example throughout this research assignment, with the Swaziland sugar industry as a case study. The European Union and Swaziland sugar industry will be used to create context. The next step will be to look at why Fairtade sugar is needed and define Fairtrade. Fairtrade is then analysed from two perspectives: the producers and the consumers. From the producers’ perspective, the two main economic benefits will be examined as well as the standards and certifications required and the empowerment that Fairtrade offers. From the IS FAIRTRADE A POTENTIAL ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION TO POVERTY ALLEVIATION FOR SMALL-SCALE PRODUCERS AND THEIR COMMUNITIES BASED ON THE PRINCIPLE OF "TRADE NOT AID"
  5. 5. 2 consumers’ perspective, the focus will be on the marketing and strategy used to compete and create demand as well as mainstreaming initiatives. Lastly, an analysis will be conducted on issues, obstacles and challenges present in the Fairtrade model. The primary research question that will be answered is: Is Fairtrade a potential alternative solution to poverty alleviation for small-scale producers and their communities based on the principle of trade not aid? Is Fair Trade able to transform the livelihood of producers by alleviating poverty through the everyday shopping of consumers? Will Swaziland Pilot experiment with Fairtrade become a tool of upliftment and poverty alleviation in the small landlocked country? 2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The primary question that will be answered throughout this report using qualitative techniques is: Is Fairtrade a potential alternative solution to poverty alleviation for small- scale producers and their communities based on the principle of trade not aid? Research into existing journals, case studies and impact studies on Fairtrade was conducted to attain an overall understanding of the Fairtrade model and its potential to alleviate poverty. To develop a holistic view, Swaziland Fairtrade initiative is reported in conjunction to developed Fairtrade sugar countries such as Belize, Malawi and Paraguay to demonstrate the potential of Fairtrade sugar over time. The use of primary and secondary data was to ensure different levels and types of information. Due to Fair Trade in Swaziland still being in the early stages of development, no published documents were available for analysis. Thus, all information gathered regarding Fairtrade in Swaziland was gathered from communication with Fairtrade representatives in Swaziland and these findings are discussed throughout this report. These primary research techniques consisted of attending Fairtrade conferences and conducting semi- structured interviews with representatives of Fairtrade who are involved with the pilot experiment of the Swaziland Sugar Association. With regard to the semi-structured interviews, there were a few standard questions but deviation was permitted based on the answers received and thought processes. This facilitated probing and relied on developing a dialog between the interviewer and the participant. The representative was informed prior to the interview of the overall themes that would be covered to ensure that the
  6. 6. 3 representative had the knowledge required for the interview as well as facilitated the discussion. Ms. G. Dlamini is the primary officer responsible for Fairtrade in Swaziland and works for the sugar association. The interview was to provide the practical aspects of Fairtrade implementation and was conducted on the 23-10-2013. James Mwali and Peter Oldham are representatives from the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation and are liaisons between FLO and Fair Trade certified producers. This conference was conducted on the 2013-09-16 with the primary purpose of discussing Fairtrade in Swaziland. Case studies are designed to bring out the details from the viewpoint of the participants by using multiple sources of data. Yin (1994) listed six sources of evidence for data collection in Table 1 for case study protocol: documentation, archival records, interviews, direct observation, participant observation, and physical artifacts. Not all sources of evidence need be used in every case study (Yin, 1994). In this study, the last three types of sources are not relevant because they are not used. Table 1: Types of evidence as identified by Yin Source of Evidence Strengths Weaknesses Documentation  stable - repeated review  unobtrusive - exist prior to case study  exact - names etc.  broad coverage - extended time span  retrievability - difficult  biased selectivity  reporting bias - reflects author bias  access - may be blocked Archival Records  Same as above  precise and quantitative  Same as above  privacy might inhibit access Interviews  targeted - focuses on case study topic  insightful - provides perceived causal inferences  bias due to poor questions  response bias  incomplete recollection  reflexivity - interviewee expresses what interviewer wants to hear Direct Observation  reality - covers events in real time  contextual - covers event context  time-consuming  selectivity - might miss facts  reflexivity - observer's presence might cause change  cost - observers need time Participant Observation  Same as above  insightful into interpersonal behavior  Same as above  bias due to investigator's actions Physical Artifacts  insightful into cultural features  insightful into technical operations  selectivity  availability Source: Yin (1994:80)
  7. 7. 4 Different types of cases are identified by Yin (1993) and an exploratory case will be used for this case because it is often considered as a prelude to social research. Due to the limited time frame, needed to ensure that maximise the information attained which case studies enable. This is due to selectivity and the need for comprehensive understanding of the system under analysis which is Fairtrade. A single case was used to challenge the theory (Yin, 1994) of Fairtrade as a form of poverty alleviate through “trade not aid”. 3. HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE SUGAR INDUSTRY: This research paper is developed against the background of the European Union and the Sugar Industry. Since 1968, as part of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU operated a system of production quotas, based on high internal prices with import tariffs to limit competition (Marković et al, 2012:485; FLO, 2013b:6). From 1975, the EU Sugar Protocol gave preferential market access to 18 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, eight of which are classified by the UN as Least Developed Countries (LDC). The protocol guaranteed duty-free quotas for 1.3 million tonnes a year (Richardson & Ngwenya, 2013:265; FLO, 2013b:6), and high prices equivalent to those paid to EU beet farmers. It also allowed duty free access for 300 000 tonnes a year on average from ACP countries and India under the special preferential Sugar Agreement. An additional quota of 85,000 tonnes, mostly from Brazil and Cuba, was agreed with a reduced duty of €98 per tonne. In 2001, the EU introduced the Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement, which gave goods from all 48 LDCs, duty-free, quota-free access to the EU (Richardson & Ngwenya, 2013:266; Young & Peterson, 2013:498; FLO, 2013b:6). Import duties of €339 per tonne for raw sugar and €419 per tonne for white sugar were applied to imports outside these preferential arrangements. In 2006, reform of the EU Sugar Protocol began with full liberalisation of the EU sugar market scheduled for 2015 (Escarte, 2013:1; FLO, 2013b:6). This included the elimination of production quotas in Europe with preferential ACP country tariffs to be phased out.
  8. 8. 5 From 1 October 2012, price guarantees for ACP sugar were removed and replaced with a negotiated market-related price (Richardson, 2012:7; FLO, 2013b:6). Reduced prices are forcing many domestic producers – and some foreign ones – out of business. The EU has committed to providing ACP producers with financial compensation, known as ‘sugar protocol accompanying measures’, to help them invest in restructuring their sugar industries. On-going reforms and restructuring is resulting in significant adjustments in the sugar industry. 3.1. SWAZILAND SUGAR INDUSTRY The origins of Swaziland's sugar industry can be traced back to an irrigation project in the lowveld area at Big Bend in 1956. In 1960, the construction of a second mill further north at Mhlume was underway. The industry took a quantum leap in 1980 with the commissioning of a third mill at Simunye. By the end of the 1992/93 season, Swaziland's sugar production had been pushed to 471 000 tons - nearly 90 times the output of the fledgling industry of the 1950s (SSA, 2013a). The operations of the Swaziland sugar industry are managed by the Swaziland Sugar Association (SSA). SSA's primary function is to promote efficient production as well as marketing initiatives for Swaziland’s sugar (SSA, 2013a). The number of smallholder growers, mostly on Swazi Nation Land, has grown significantly in recent years. This phenomenon lends itself to a solid ground for Fairtrade. In addition to this, is the fact that 40% of Swazis live below the poverty line, surviving on less than US$1.25 per day (WFP, 2013; Unicef, 2013) indicating the need for poverty alleviation mechanisms such as Fairtrade. The sugar industry in Swaziland is a substantial contributor to the GDP of Swaziland. Swaziland Sugar industry revenue increased from E3,1 billion in 2011/12 to over E4,0 billion in 2012/13 according to the SSA annual review (2013b). Swaziland has generally benefitted from sales to preferential markets in the past, in addition to the domestic (South African Customs Union-SACU) market. The exposure to the low-priced world market has reduced gradually over the years as a result of improved access to preferential markets, particularly the EU. As a result of this access, Swaziland Fairtrade sugar sales will be
  9. 9. 6 focused on the EU markets. Fairtrade in Swaziland has been in commencement since 2008 with the first farmers being certified in 2012. According to the Swaziland Sugar Association (SSA, 2013b) annual report for 2012-2013, 7% of smallholder growers have been certified. The delay between commencement and the first certification was due to the nature of the compliance standards that the farmers had to achieve. The producers needed to buy into the Fair Trade concept to make the necessary changes required to meet these standards. Another factor was the cooperative model in Swaziland; currently there are 72 individual farmer associations. For Fair Trade implementation, the SSA relied on the strategy of using existing associations that were willing to be part of Fairtrade. To this a new association of 3 individual farmers was added with Fairtrade certification. 3.2. WHY FAIRTRADE IS NEEDED IN THE SUGAR SECTOR The global sugar sector and Swaziland Sugar Sector faces many challenges such as price volatility, competition from substitutes such as alternative sweeteners, health consciousness that “bans” sugar and the impacts of climate change. These factors contribute to poverty in the communities that grow sugar cane. A recent challenge that is likely to adversely affect the sugar industry in Swaziland is the liberalisation of the EU sugar market: On the 1st October 2012, EU import quotas were removed and guaranteed EU prices withdrawn (FLO, 2013b:12). ACP producers now face increased competition for sales from non-ACP countries, including larger-scale producers such as Brazil. Countries that lose access to these higher-priced preferential EU markets will have to sell their products on the world market. Fairtrade will protect these Swaziland sugar producers from having to sell their product at a lower price to the world market by selling to the Fairtrade niche market: a premium product, at a sustainable price with a premium attached. 4. WHAT IS FAIRTRADE? There is not a single, official definition of Fair Trade which is followed by everybody. Each organization has developed its own definitions, which, nevertheless, are quite similar and address more or less the same issues. Some examples are:  Fairtrade is a market-based approach to social and environmental development for
  10. 10. 7 producers through the use of standards and a price floor (Johannessen & Wilhite, 2010:525; Valkila, 2009:3018).  Fair Trade is an international commodity production and distribution in “equitable social relations,” developing a more stable and advantageous system of trade for agricultural and non-agricultural goods produced under favourable social and environmental conditions (Raynolds, 2000:297; Howard & Jaffee, 2013:75). Initially Fair Trade was viewed as a part of trade, but now it is viewed as an alternative form of trade (Fridell, 2010:461; Reed, 2008:12). Fairtrade is also not a legal agreement between countries such as World Trade Organisation (WTO) free trade; instead, it is a voluntary partnership between producers, sellers and consumers. Due to Fair Trade products competing with other brand products in the conventional markets, Fairtrade ensures that only the best quality product is provided. Ethics and quality are the driving forces of Fairtrade. Consumers will purchase Fairtrade products either for ethical reasons, for quality reasons, or both. 1 1 FAIRTRADE VERSUS FAIR TRADE For the purpose of this research assignment, a distinction must be made between “Fairtrade” and “Fair Trade”. “Fairtr ade” (one word) is the leading fair trade movement in the agricultural sector. It is the name and brand (the Fairtrade L abel), and the mechanisms this organisation uses, whereas, “Fair Trade” (two words) refers to the concept of ethical tr ading (Fairtrade Canada, n.d.; Fairtrade Label, n.d.; Traidcraft, 2013).
  11. 11. 8 5. PRODUCER PERSPECTIVE The producers are the main focus of Fairtrade. Fair Trade supports producers in securing better long-term deals, contributing to greater sustainable development in developing countries and improved terms of trade (Doherty et al, 2013: 167; FLO, 2011a). Producers are required to keep to their side of the bargain by aiming to provide safe and healthy working conditions (Smith, 2010:11; Howard & Jaffee, 2013:75; FLO, 2011a). In addition to this, producers are expected to conduct their production in a way that results in the least possible environmental damage. Fair Trade initiatives open up new avenues of communication by providing producers greater access to market information, technical expertise, and other resources (Reed, 2008:4; Smith, 2010:18). This communication establishes important ties of social connectivity which is crucial for the success of Fair Trade. This allows strong, long-term bonds between producers, importers, and labelling organizations to be developed for a more successful Fairtrade future. In Swaziland, the SSA is acting as the link between these different bodies and encouraging consumers to meet with the producers to reinforce this link. As we delve deeper into the producers’ perspective, the following aspects will be covered: Firstly, the two main economic benefits: guaranteed minimum pricing and a premium benefit. Secondly, the Fairtrade standards set by FLO and enforced by FLO-Cert. Lastly, a look into the empowerment of the producers. 5.1. TWO MAIN ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF FAIRTRADE FOR PRODUCERS Small producers are often at the mercy of unscrupulous brokers that bargain with prices for a larger profit. In the Sugar industry, the global market forces determine whether there is success or failure. FLO has created two main economic benefits in Fair Trade for the producers to ensure sustainability, namely: guaranteed minimum pricing and price premium.
  12. 12. 9 5.1.1 Guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price According to Reinecke, Fair Trade assumes that the bargaining price amongst producers and consumers is not fair because the bargaining power is unequal; therefore, the minimum price was created (2012: 567). The ‘‘fair’’ price is one of the reasons that producers are attracted to the Fairtrade model. Fair price is calculated by the Standards Unit at FLO and the process for agreeing international Fairtrade standards follows the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Social and Environmental Labelling (FLO, 2013c) where stakeholders (including producers, traders, NGOs) participate in the research and consultation process and final decision making. Even though there is no minimum price for sugar, in Swaziland it is informally guaranteed through the pricing mechanism of the Swaziland Sugar Association which will be discussed in further detail below. This price aims to ensure that producers can cover their average costs of sustainable production (Johannessen & Wilhite, 2011: 527; Reinecke, 2010:571) by setting a price floor to ensure that a product cannot be sold at a price below what Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) deems as an appropriate Cost of Sustainable Production (CoSP). It acts as a safety net for farmers at times when world markets fall below a sustainable level. Without this price floor, farmers are at the mercy of volatile markets. Fair Trade also offers flexibility with the Fairtrade minimum because when the market price is higher than the Fairtrade minimum, the buyer must pay the higher price (Fridell, 2010:464; Raynolds, 2000:301). This is extremely advantageous for Fairtrade producers because no matter the circumstances, they will always benefit from market conditions. A prime example of the Fairtrade minimum price can be demonstrated by the coffee industry history and Figure 1 below. In the coffee industry, the world market has always been characterized by its high price volatility (Johannessen & Wilhite, 2011:527; Lewin et al., 2004:104; FLO, 2011b). This volatility prompted international governments to negotiate the first International Coffee Agreement (ICA) to stabilize the coffee market in 1962. Unfortunately, negotiations for the 1989 version of the International Coffee Agreement collapsed, causing coffee prices to
  13. 13. 10 drop to less than US$ 0.8 per pound. In October 2001 a thirty year low was to devastate farmers. In what is now known as the ‘Coffee Crisis’. Coffee prices fell to an extreme low of US$ 0.45 per pound. The result of the Coffee Crisis was economic devastation for many coffee-producing countries. Over 100 million growers, processors, traders and retailers dependent on coffee were affected (Reinecke, 2011: 568; Biggs et al., 2011; FLO, 2011b). Figure 1 below is a line graph indicating the Arabica coffee market from 1989 to 2010. This graph illustrates a comparison of Fairtrade minimum prices and New York normal market prices. Figure 1: Line graph indicating the Arabica coffee market 1989-2010: Comparison of Fairtrade and New York Prices Source: Reinecke (2012: 569); Fairtrade International (2011b). As demonstrated above it is clear that in the volatile coffee industry, producers who did not have the benefit of Fairtrade price floors would have been adversely affected by the price drops. The participation in Fair Trade networks helps to reduce farmers’ livelihood vulnerability (Ruben & Fort, 2011:571; Bacon, 2004:498) The coffee industry is the backbone of Fair Trade and thus we can draw similarities between the coffee and the sugar industry. In both industries the trade agreements were terminated ie. International Coffee Agreement (ICA) and the Sugar Protocol. Both
  14. 14. 11 industries are commodity products in which the producers are not reaping the benefits of trade, both are characterised by volatile markets as well as both Fair Trade products sell premium products to the market (Escalente, 2013: 2-3; Bacon, 2005:504). The sugar industry is often characterised as a volatile industry and is demonstrated in Figure 3. Between 2004 and 2006, prices more than trebled, to 18 cents/lb, and then fell by half within a year. More recently, prices soared to a 30-year high of 36 cents/lb during February 2011 before plummeting to around 20 cents/lb in 2012 – a fall of 45%. Reasons for the price fluctuations from 2008-2012 are as a result of deficits and surpluses in sugar production and the use of sugar cane for the production of ethanol as an alternative source of energy. Production deficits in 2008-2010 were followed by surpluses in 2010-2012 as sugar crop areas expanded as a result of the previous year’s deficits. A further substantial surplus is forecast for 2012-13. Surpluses stem predominantly from world production exceeding consumption and export availability exceeding import demand. Figure 2: World Raw Sugar Prices 1982-2012 (Monthly Averages) Source: World Bank-GEM (2013a); FLO (2013b:7). Sugar price volatility is largely the result of changes in production – especially by large players such as Brazil and India (Jolly, 2012:182; FLO, 2013b:7) – but is also due to the nature of the industry. As well as being major sugar producers, Brazil and India are also major sugar consumers, and their export volumes are secondary to the needs of domestic processors.
  15. 15. 12 A large difference with the Fair Trade sugar is the fact that there is no guaranteed minimum price. This is because of the complexities of price setting in the sugar sector. According to Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (2013b:15) the sugar sector is characterised by structural differences in sugar supply chains, government-set prices and distortions caused by international trade regimes. The conclusion was that it would be more effective for sugar prices to be negotiated between producers and traders rather than through the minimum price mechanism. A review of this is set for 2013 and according to James Mwali (2013), a FLO representative; a Fairtrade minimum price for sugar is likely to be implemented. The Swaziland Sugar Association sells the Swaziland sugar into preferential markets due to its quality and certification by international bodies. This enables the sugar to be sold at above average market prices and this acts as a natural price floor. Even when there is interest in Fairtrade products in alternative markets but at a lower price, the SSA does not compromise by selling at the lower price. In this way, the sugar producers who are not certified by Fairtrade are not disadvantaged. 5.1.2. Fairtrade Premium In addition to the Fairtrade minimum price, there is an additional sum of money, called the Fairtrade Premium. This money goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers to use to improve any of these three conditions: social, economic and environmental (Porter & Kramer, 2011:10; FLO, 2011c:3). In Swaziland, the Fairtrade premium is allocated proportionately at the end of the harvest year to the different producers based on a ratio calculation. Due to the limited amount of Fairtrade sugar sales of only 10 000 tonnes, substantial premiums are not currently being obtained. This results in the premium being mostly used to cover the fees required for Fairtrade certification. More developed sugar Fairtrade countries are Belize, Malawi and Paraguay. These countries can be used to demonstrate the accrued benefits that can result from the Fairtrade premium over time.
  16. 16. 13 5.1.2.1. Socio-Economic Fairtrade Benefits Small-scale farmers benefit from Fair Trade by enjoying slightly higher and more stable incomes than producers not forming part of the Fairtrade network. This is predominantly due to the Fairtrade price minimum that has been set. This is particularly apparent in the coffee case, in which it was reported that only members of Fairtrade certified cooperatives could survive on an income derived solely from coffee growing in years when global market prices were lower (Ceval: 2012:2; Reinecke, 2011:569; Raynolds, 2000:304). Furthermore, Fairtrade facilitates training programmes in producer organisations such as assistance with financial accounting. The difficulty with these training and development programmes is the literacy rate, which is often very low (Ceval, 2012:3; Johannessen & Wilhite, 2011: 536; Smith, 2010:11). Fairtrade attempts to improve the terms of trade for producers by promoting long term relationships, prepayments of harvests and market access. Actual socio-economic benefits of Fairtrade in the developed sugar industry countries are as follows: In Malawi, benefits that have accrued as a result of the premium according to FLO (2013b:19) were 30% direct cash payment to farmers to help pay for necessities and 40% for initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the business (annual plough-out and replant, replacement of vital machinery etc). In Paraguay, benefits that have accrued as a result of the premium according to FLO (2013b:20) resulted in members deciding to use 50% of the Fairtrade premium as a cash payment to bridge the gap between harvests when incomes are at their lowest. 5.1.2.2. Social Fairtrade Benefits Fairtrade Premium income is often used for projects in the communities, thus benefitting the wider population and having an impact that extends beyond the members and workers of the certified organisations (Ceval, 2012:4; Howard & Joffee, 2013:4; FLO, 2011a). This applies in particular to education, where direct support of educational institutions such as schools for pupils, includes indirect impacts such as improved accessibility to the schools. Further, one of the key aspects of the impact of Fair Trade, is the organisation of rural zones. This is where the process, unique to Fairtrade, of how the Fairtrade Premium income is managed and used, plays a crucial role. Due to Fairtrade, small-scale farmers and workers have the opportunity to be directly involved in the planning and
  17. 17. 14 implementation of development projects by the use of the premium income which is decided upon democratically by producers within the farmers’ organization, or by workers on a plantation (Ceval, 2012:5-6; Smith, 2010:10; FLO, 2011a, 2011c:3). This means that the local population is ultimately involved in these projects. Determining the use of the Fair Trade premium may itself strengthen democratic decision-making processes. Actual social benefits of Fairtrade in the developed sugar industry countries are as follows: In Belize, benefits that have accrued as a result of the premium according to FLO (2013b:21) were student grants – to enable children to continue their education; school grants – for repairs and improvements; grants to churches, youth groups women’s groups and a community library; welfare grants to poor families, the elderly and disabled for medical costs; funeral grants and water tank system installed in one community. In Malawi, benefits that have accrued as a result of the premium according to FLO (2013b:19) were 30% for community projects (support to water and electricity supply, health centres, schools, roads etc). Access to clean water is literally a lifesaver and three bore holes have been financed using the premium to provide access to clean water. An exciting water project is underway in Salumeji village to bring tap water to farmers’ homes. In Paraguay, benefits that have accrued as a result of the premium according to FLO (2013b:20) were a new office with a clinic and community hall for 100 people; repairs or improvements to members' houses and roofs; replace latrines with newly-built bathrooms and toilets and improved access to running water. 5.1.2.3. Environmental Fairtrade Benefits It was found that, as a result of the relevant standards and the regular, independent monitoring of these, Fair Trade promoted sustainable production methods. Fairtrade’s environmental standards have emphasized making products without harming the environment. Standards were introduced such as the requirements that attempts be made to protect forests and wildlife habitat, prevent erosion and water pollution, reduce chemical fertilizer and synthetic pesticide use, and compost wastes (Raynolds, 2000:300; Ruben & Fort, 2011:570). In order to implement this, Fairtrade will continue working at different levels: Supporting the producers by educating and training them to meet Fairtrade’s social and environmental standards as well as providing the tools needed for producers to fulfil these standards and elaborate on their own development plans. Providing producers the technical tools needed to face environmental and climate change challenges; Providing
  18. 18. 15 financial services to producers to face and adapt to environmental and climate change challenges (FLO, 2011c:3; Ceval, 2012:7; Smith, 2010:11) Actual environmental benefits of Fairtrade in the developed sugar industry countries are as follows: In Belize, according to FLO (2013b:21) the benefit that has accrued as a result of the premium was the implementation of an on-going project to distribute subsidised fertilizers, essential to increase cane quality and quantity but which many farmers were unable to afford and a successful pest . In Paraguay, the benefit from the premium according to FLO (2013b:20) was a partial payment to be invested back into the sugar cane fields in order to improve soil fertility. 5.2. STANDARDS AND CERTIFICATION Application of Standards is a major industry in its own right within the Fair Trade movement. Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) is one of the main standard setting agencies. In the late 1980s, European alternative trade organizations began labelling fair trade products to facilitate their entry into conventional markets. Three fair trade labels, TransFair, Max Havelaar, and Fairtrade Mark, were successfully introduced in different parts of Europe (Moore, 2004:74; Johannessen & Wilhite, 2011:527). In 1997 these labelling efforts were united under the umbrella NGO, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), which was responsible with harmonizing the somewhat different fair trade standards and creating a single fair trade market (Hira & Ferrie, 2006:108-109; Raynolds, 2000:301). FLO has established basic fair trade principles and procedures and specific certification requirements (Hira & Ferrie, 2006:108; Bacon, 2004:501): • A price that covers the cost of production • A social premium to provide funding for development projects based on socio- economic, environmental and social • A partial payment in advance to avoid small producer organizations falling into debt • Contracts that allow long-term production planning • Long-term trade relations that allow proper planning and sustainable production practices • Environmental standards promoting best agricultural practice focusing on minimised
  19. 19. 16 and safe use of agrochemicals, proper and safe management of waste, maintenance of soil fertility and water resources, and no use of genetically modified organisms. • A democratic decision-making process must be in place, with all members having an equal right to vote on key issues. • Forced labour and child labour are prohibited. The above mentioned standards are your basic pre-requisites in place by FLO, but listed below is the additional Fairtrade Standards specific for sugar growers: (FLO, 2013; Howard, 2013:75)  Producer organisations are paid a Fairtrade Premium of $60 per tonne ($80 per tonne for certified organic) to invest in community, business and environmental projects. In Swaziland, these standards have improved the general management of the smallholders by providing focus; has forced these cooperatives to ensure that procedures are being followed and traceability is occurring throughout the production process. An example of this is ensured payment of employees and the record keeping thereof. These standards also provide structure within these organisations by assigning different responsibilities to individuals for the different aspects required by the certification. 5.2.1. FLO-Cert The certification of these standards is carried out by an autonomous unit within FLO called FLO-cert. This organisation operates independently from any other Fair Trade interests and follows, as appropriate, the ISO 65 standards for certification bodies (FLO, 2011; Raynolds, 2002: 410). In Swaziland, the certification process begins with a written application to FLO-CERT from the producer cooperative, with the support of the SSA. If the application is accepted, the organisation will be physically inspected against Fairtrade standards by a FLO-CERT inspector based in Cape Town. The inspector’s report is then considered by the FLO- CERT Certification Committee which takes the final decision on whether or not to certify. Producers are issued with a certificate valid for 3 years, and follow an annual re- inspection.
  20. 20. 17 For each area there are minimum requirements that a producer organisation must meet in order to be certified. There are progress requirements that the certified organisation must demonstrate permanent improvement over time (FLO-Cert, 2013). For example, a minimum requirement is a ban on the use of agrochemicals in the FLO list of prohibited materials. A progress requirement is the on-going reduction in the use of non-permitted agrochemicals. This helps support the producers and helps them to gradually improve their practices. The Swaziland Sugar Association has dedicated permanent extension officers continuously in touch with the producers, examining the soils and giving recommendations on irrigation, fertilization and spraying procedures. Overall these officers educate the producers in all aspects of good farming practices including the Fairtrade principles. This is another indication of the capacity building initiatives that are occurring in Swaziland. Where Swaziland producers have difficulties in continuing to meet minor Fairtrade standards, they are provided with the support and designated timeframe to enable them to meet these requirements rather than being automatically or immediately excluded from the system. Producer groups that fail to meet minimum Fairtrade standards are first informed of the reasons for their non-compliance and given time to rectify the situation within a specified period of time. If the group fails to take the required corrective actions within the prescribed period, then the group is suspended from trading under Fairtrade terms for a fixed period during which they are again requested to undertake the corrective actions. If they still fail to take the necessary actions to become compliant, the producer group is ultimately decertified and barred from trading under Fairtrade terms (FLO, 2013b). In Swaziland with regard to the certification requirements, the farmers have done certain things in a particular manner for a number of years and they view the way they have always done things as being correct. To convince the farmers that they need to change has been and continues to be a practical challenge. 5.3. EMPOWERMENT Empowerment has become a fundamental element of Fair Trade. A unique aspect to Fair Trade is that the producers have an equal say in the running of the business. The Standards Committee consists of six members. This includes two Labelling Initiative
  21. 21. 18 representatives, two producer representatives and two trader representatives (Reinecke, 2010:571: FLO, 2013c). This enables producers to have an equal say in the standards that are affecting them and provide the practical perspective to the standards. Fair Trade organizations have the potential to be the agents of empowerment, this is done through the means of democratic decision-making (Ceval, 2012:5-6; Smith, 2010:10) that occurs with the facilitation of the price premium. This enables the producers to democratically decide on the aspects on the community or organisation that the Fair Trade premium will be used for. In Swaziland, no individual organisation can be certified as an individual Fairtrade producer; these producers must form part of a cooperative. There is a first grade level whereby individual organisations elect for example 3 members each to form a board for their cooperative. This board is then called the second grade level. This board is there to monitor and provide internal control within the cooperative. Within this board, a premium committee is formed that has the responsibility to ensure the premium is being utilised for the voted purpose (see diagram below). The way this premiums use is voted for is by the individual organisations communities independently decide what they would like the premium to be used for. For example, the community 1 decides they would like a community centre or a school, they then vote within that community for a school. The 3 representatives from the individual organisations go back to the board and the premium committee will ensure the premium is utilised for a school. The Swaziland Sugar Association has no say in the communities’ votes or what the premium is used for; their facilitation in conjunction with FLO representatives is capacity building to ensure effective decision making occurs within these communities. In Belize, an example of this facilitation offered by FLO is “Fairtrade officials directed us in creating social programs. They gave us ideas and frankly said a larger percent of the premium should be dedicated to social programs” (Escaante, 2013:6). Additional consumer empowerment in Paraguay is the cooperative began building a first-of-its-kind producer- owned mill (FLO, 2013b), partly financed by the Fairtrade Premium, will significantly improve the lives of sugar farmers, workers and their communities.
  22. 22. 19 Figure 3: A matrix of a decision-making structure within a cooperative in Swaziland. Source: Ms. G. Dlamini (2013) 6. CONSUMERS PERSPECTIVE Consumers of Fairtrade certified products are given the opportunity when buying products with the Fairtrade Mark to improve the livelihoods of farmers and workers in developing countries through their everyday shopping (Loureiro & Lotade, 2005:129; Fairtrade International, 2011a). A look into the marketing and strategy needed to enter into these consumer markets is analysed as well as the mainstreaming initiatives. 6.1. MARKETING AND STRATEGY The emphasis of Fairtrade marketing is attempting to make consumers more ethical in their purchases as well as raising the consciousness of producers (Topik, 2010:146; Moore, 2004:82). Creating greater transparency between the grower and the end consumer—informing the sugar user about the lives of the sugar cane growers. From a marketing perspective it is, therefore, important to transmit to consumers what the benefits are to the Fairtrade producers as well as their communities from their everyday purchasing of Fair Trade products. Marketing must try to create awareness and help consumers to make an alternative purchasing decision, predominantly an ethical purchasing decision. Fair trade goods do reveal the conditions under which they are produced and traded and important bonds are formed (Tropik, 2010:147). Premium committee Cooperative Board Formed Individual organisation 1 Community 1 School/Community Centre Individual Organisation 2 Community 2 Individual Organisation 3 Community 3 Second Grade Level First Grade Level
  23. 23. 20 Brand building and information dissemination are required in order to educate the consumer and create awareness of the producers conditions and to the affect that the consumer can make a socially beneficial purchase. According to Whatmore and Thorne, this emphasis on public education links consumers more directly to producers, building potentially powerful two-way networks that span the consumer/producer divide (1997). While producers draw on these networks to access expertise and other resources, consumers use these networks as a framework for redeveloping trust in the social and environmental origins of their purchases. In Swaziland, the marketing and strategy initiatives are in the process of development. A general strategy of the SSA is to not enter into lower priced markets, only aim at supplying the preferential markets at above market prices. The SSA is endeavouring to sell the Fair Trade sugar to intermediaries to add value by processing the sugar and using these intermediaries to increase Fair Trade demand. 6.2. MAINSTREAMING One business strategy that has been actively pursued by the Fair Trade movement has been the mainstreaming of Fair Trade (Raynolds, 2009:1090; Moore, 2004:82). Associated with this move into the mainstream, of course, was the need to provide a consumer guarantee – hence the development of Fair Trade labels. Fair Trade labelling has played a critical role in expanding markets for alternative commodities and establishing new consumer producer links. Their brand mark is a form of quality identification to the consumers (Raynolds, 2000:298; Moore, 2004:75). This initiative is to combat the oversupply aspect and balance demand by establishing consistent supply with larger organisations. Starbuck’s, Wal-Mart, Nestle´, Tesco, Cadbury’s and Ben and Jerry’s are a few of the mainstream organisation Fairtrade has partnered with (Doherty et al, 2013:162-163; FLO, 2013c). In Belize, a sourcing partnership was established in 2008 between Belize Sugar Industries Ltd and Tate & Lyle (Escalante, 2013:2; FLO, 2013b). This is a potential strategy for Swaziland to consider because this would result in substantial benefits. A potential partnership is Conco Crescent in Matsapha, Swaziland who produces Coca Cola’s syrup.
  24. 24. 21 7. ISSUES, PROBLEMS AND OBSTACLES The ultimate impact and sustainability of Fair Trade will depend on addressing these broader issues, problems and obstacles discussed below: The Fairtrade criteria are intended to guarantee a minimum price and premium to certified producers; but the criteria are not aimed at ensuring a fair supply chain is maintained (Johannessen & Wilhite, 2011:538-539; Murray et al., 2003:15-17). The key and obvious problem with this system is that the market for fair trade is limited to those who are willing to purchase or who have access to these products. This has resulted in an oversupply (Hira & Ferrie, 2006: 108; Bacon, 2004:497) of Fair Trade products, whereby there is not enough effective demand, in turn, limiting the expansion of the Fair Trade market. This is particularly prevalent in Swaziland Fairtrade sugar production. In 2012-2013, 55000 tonnes was produced with annual sales of 10000 tonnes. This has resulted in an oversupply with limited demand. Due to low demand, Fair Trade certified cooperatives are selling a large portion of their produce in conventional markets. Thus, net contributions to improved livelihoods remain limited since many farmers could not sell their entire harvest (Ruben & Fort, 2011:570; Bacon, 2004:507) as Fairtrade certified products and thus do not receive the total potential premium benefit. In Swaziland, only 18% of Fairtrade sugar is being sold as Fairtrade sugar and thus the producers are only receiving 18% of their total potential premiums. Thus, Fairtrade is moving towards mainstreaming their products in order to increase this demand to balance the supply and demand of fair trade products. However, a large criticism with mainstreaming is the risk of co-optation, dilution and reputational damage to the fair trade movement (Doherty et al, 2013:162-163; Moore, 2004:82). This broader concept of dilution considers that Fairtrade bodies are influenced by certain mainstream organisation to make regulatory decisions on their behalf instead of the producers. The issue of ‘fair-washing’ or ‘clean-wash’, (Doherty et al, 2013:162-163; Fridell, 2007) occurs when a company ‘derives positive benefits from its association with the fair trade movement. This is the fear that mainstream corporations can derive many positive reputational and financial benefits through limited engagement in other sustainable development initiatives. According to the Fairtrade representative James
  25. 25. 22 Mwali (2013), FLO will have the Fairtrade label and written below is the ingredient that is Fairtrade certified to combat this fair-washing. Many producers find that they have higher input costs as a result of the requirements to adhere to Fair Trade Standards e.g. agrochemical specifications (Ruben & Fort, 2011:570; Raynolds, 2002:11) that has resulted in an increase in expense. In Swaziland, this increase in expense has resulted in the premium being used to finance the costs involved in being certified; instead of the intended benefits of communal upliftment in social, economic and environmental conditions. In many cases, producers do not claim economic benefits of Fair Trade because they do not understand the system and their rights to claim (Johannessen & Wilhite, 2010:536- 537; Murray et al., 2003:15-17). This task is difficult for people with low levels of education. In Swaziland, due to the low literacy rate, Fair Trade has provided training and educational upliftment to staff in charge of Fair Trade at the expense of FLO to not add additional financial strain on the cooperatives. SSA’s primary aim is capacity building within these cooperatives to ensure that producers are able to utilise the benefits that accrue from Fair Trade to its maximum potential. Fair Trade USA (FTUSA, formerly Transfair USA) announced in 2011 that it was resigning from the international fair trade certification body, Fair Trade International (FTI), and that it would begin certifying coffee produced on plantations, rather than only coffee from small farmer cooperatives, as stipulated by FTI standards. (Howard, 2013:73; FLO, 2011c). This decision has generated strong disagreements among firms regarding the direction the fair trade system should take since a key aspect to Fair Trade is that only small cooperatives are certified. In the sugar industry, there have been no talks of certifying larger plantations since a large portion of sugar cane harvest comes from small growers organisations. There are major benefits to be gained from Fairtrade if it is managed properly as well as risks and obstacles. FLO is taking initiatives to overcome these obstacles and improve the Fairtrade model.
  26. 26. 23 8. DISCUSSION The findings with regard to Swaziland and Fairtrade sugars are as follows: Fairtrade in Swaziland has been in commencement since 2008 with 7% of smallholder growers having been certified in 2012-2013. There was a delay due to the nature of compliance with the required standards, encouraging the producers to buy into the Fair Trade concept as well as the cooperative formations. It was a wise decision to use existing cooperatives as well as forming new associations. By using existing cooperatives, there was the benefit of prevailing relationships and established structures. The fact that there is no guaranteed minimum price does not affect Swaziland Fairtrade sugar. SSA has a natural price floor mechanism which is determined internally and the sugar is sold into the markets which are profitable. Due to the limited demand of Swaziland Fairtrade sugar, a large portion has to be sold into conventional markets. This is not necessarily a disadvantage to the producers since the SSA sugar price will always cover the cost of sustainable production. The only perceivable disadvantage is that the premium mechanism is not maximised. Most of the current premium is being utilised to cover the costs of certification. This results in the dilution of the Fairtrade premium and the danger lies in that current Fairtrade producers may become discouraged and opt out of the program due to the expected benefits not being attained. This is indicative that the Fairtrade model increases the input costs because of certification and thus requires a minimum amount of sales prior to having distributable premiums. The SSA will need to increase marketing and mainstreaming initiatives to drive the demand needed for the potential premium to be obtained. In Swaziland, it was found that the standards of Fairtrade helped the overall improvement of the organisations. To mention a few: records had to be kept; traceability had to occur; only certain agrochemicals were permitted and standards of procedures had to be adhered to. FLO-cert has the minimum requirements but also the progress requirements. This facilitated the organisations to constantly improve whether significantly or marginally. FLO- Cert informed the producers of their non-conformances and offered the support with a designated timeframe to make the necessary corrective action. This allowed continuity for producers because they were not immediately excluded from certification but given the opportunity to improve. This approach assisted with certification in the initial stages.
  27. 27. 24 A crucial question to ask is will Fairtrade in Swaziland be sustainable? Although market conditions may be uncertain, all the indicators show that it could be a success. The indicators are:  A present stable well developed infrastructure and management  Production costs are one of the lowest in the world  The sugar fields in Swaziland are irrigated thus not susceptible to drought  According to Peter Oldham (2013), the population of Swaziland has stoic ethics comparable with the people of Japan Due to the sustainability potential, should the Fairtrade system be successfully implemented in Swaziland, this can have significant benefits for the smallholder producers as well as the surrounding communities. The potential for poverty alleviation in Swaziland by implementing the Fairtrade model is definitely a feasible strategy. Reasons for this is with their first year of certification, Swazilands sales of 10000 tonnes generated an annual premium of US $600 000. This is currently used predominantly to cover the costs of certification; nonetheless, the producers are still able to cover this additional expense. In the future this situation will improve more and more with time. With the balance of 45000 tonnes of Fairtrade sugar being sold with a premium of US $60 into Fairtrade markets, this would have the result of US $2.7 million/year being available to the Fairtrade producers. This is a substantial amount in a country with merely 1.231 million people (World Bank, 2013b). This demonstrates that Fairtrade sugar could be a vehicle to alleviate poverty and improve social, economic and environmental conditions in Swaziland. 9. CONCLUSION Fairtrade’s crucial statement of “trade not aid” is one of the biggest drivers towards this alternative form of trading. The principle behind this ensures that Fairtrade is not a once off benefit but instead a sustainable benefit and upliftment tool for producers. Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. The first economic benefit of minimum pricing ensures that no matter the price in the market, producers will still be able to cover their average costs of
  28. 28. 25 sustainable production. Without this, farmers are completely at the mercy and are often affected by the volatility of the market. This ensures the survival and continuation of small producers, that may have previously been excluded from the market had they not been following a fair trade approach. A potential minimum pricing mechanism is to be implemented but Swaziland Fairtraders were not adversely affected by the lack of minimum pricing. The second economic benefit is probably one of the most unique aspects of the Fairtrade model-The price premium. This is the tool that ensures the upliftment of the organisation as well as the community in which the organisation operates. Many benefits have resulted from the premium and actual results such as training, operational equipment, educational facilities, infrastructure development and democratic decision-making. This was clearly indicated by the communal upliftment in developed Fairtrade certified sugar countries such as Belize, Malawi and Paraguay. This is indicative that benefits can be acquired from the Fairtrade sugar industry and alleviates poverty for sugar cane producers. Democratic decision-making provides empowerment of producers and the overall communities in which they operate.. Democratic decision-making ensures that the individuals in the community are deciding on where the premium should be spent. This ensures that the community is getting the benefits that they deem are important to them and not what is perceived to be important by a foreign third party. Fairtrade does have issues and obstacles that it needs to overcome, but these are not significant enough to negate the benefits that this alternative form of trade is having on the producers. FLO is taking initiatives to overcome these obstacles and improve the Fairtrade model. Future research could be an in depth analysis at the standard setting and certification of Fairtrade. Comparisons can be made between other ethical labels such as Organic products. Research into ethical consumerism and the requirements of branding, marketing and pricing of the Fairtrade Label. An investigation into pricing within the Fair Trade movement would be useful with regard to the “fair” price and the costs that should be considered to ensure the Cost of Sustainable Production is covered. A comparison between traditional trade approaches and alternative trade approaches to alleviate poverty.
  29. 29. 26 Fairtrade is sensitive for it depends on the sentiment and ethics of the consumers. There is no reason to doubt that consumers will continue to support and be prepared to pay a small extra premium for superior quality products and communal upliftment that the Fairtrade label guarantees. Fairtrade should maintain its commitment to quality, outstanding administration and “hands-on” intensive education of small farmers, as well as, educating the consumers on the benefits their everyday purchasing is having on these producers. In the case of Swaziland, the Fairtrade model has the potential to alleviate poverty if they can overcome the current limited demand. What started with humble beginnings in assisting a few small farmers may well be one of the major answers in upliftment of communities and the alleviation of poverty.
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