Fairtrade ANZ is a member of Fairtrade International, which works to empower disadvantaged producers and promote fairer trading conditions. Fairtrade ANZ used their grant from BACP to teach cocoa producers in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands how to raise their incomes by achieving Fairtrade Certification, thereby incentivizing biodiversity-friendly cocoa farming practices.
Many producer organizations struggle to achieve or maintain Fairtrade certification due to illiteracy, isolation, and poor access to information on standards. Fairtrade ANZ conducted a gap assessment to identify the main obstacles for compliance, and a review of best practices in capacity building. They worked with Fairtrade International experts to develop a producer library of interactive training tools on biodiversity-friendly farming methods and the Fairtrade system and standards.
The library developed includes a "Training the Trainers Manual" to guide the management teams of small producer groups in designing training events on the Fairtrade system. The manual puts special emphasis on Fairtrade Environmental Standards, which make up one third of the certification criteria for small producers. Topics highlighted include awareness, participatory assessment and monitoring of biodiversity, as well as community land use planning and management.
Next, Fairtrade ANZ staff partnered with key players in four producer organizations struggling with compliance. Working with the Nature Conservancy and the Papua New Guinea Department of Agriculture, they field-tested the manual through training workshops with environmental officers, internal control inspectors and executives of the organizations. They also met with focus groups in the organizations to develop business plans and participatory land use management plans (PLUMP). Key players then administered trainings to their own organizations, where a plan of action was discussed, modified and approved by the larger producer group.
At Fairtrade ANZ's third Fairtrade Pacific Stakeholders Workshop, more than 90 stakeholders from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, East Timor, Samoa and New Zealand took part in interactive training sessions using the newest tools from the producer library, and built connections with representatives from traders, non-profits, governments, and other organizations such as Papua New Guinea's Cocoa Board, Rainforest Alliance, and the Cocoa and Coconut Research Institute.
Overall, twelve workshops were held and attended by more than 500 farmers. The training materials created will educate more than 9,000 small producers on the connection between Fairtrade farming, responsible land use, and biodiversity conservation, allowing them to take responsibility for the protection of their own natural resources. With the Fairtrade Network of Asian and Pacific Producers now expressing interest in adapting the producer library, the impact of this grant may become even larger.