After it was jolted out of a spell of dormancy in 2016, Fairtrade Ghana Network (FGTN), the Ghana wing of the global Fair Trade movement, has so far hauled in over US$7million in premiums for members.
No other certification label in Ghana has managed to achieve.a similar feat.
Even though the FTGN has been on a low profile for the close to eight years that it has been in existence, it has been improving the lives of its members, producers of all forms of agricultural products, than other organizations, the organisation noted.
Vice President of the FTGN, Mrs. Florence Blankson, explained to the media that investment of these premiums in members and their communities has led to the attainment of some Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Some of our certified producers earn Fairtrade premiums which are additional sums of money over and above the Fairtrade price which go into a communal fund for producers and workers, to support and improve themselves and their communities. This has led to the achievement of a number of sustainable development goals,” she said.
From the same premiums, she pointed out, producer organisations such as Asunafo North Union, Kuapa kokoo, West Akyem Cocoa Cooperative Union and Fanteakwa Union have been empowered to give cash bonuses to farmers and also establish a savings and loans scheme.
The organisation has also been instrumental in other investments. For instance, in the area of Education, Golden Exotics, VREL, Asunafo North and Kuapa Kokoo have used their premiums in building School blocks, teachers’ quarters, science labs, vocational training centres and the establishment of scholarship schemes for farmers and their wards.
“In the area of Health, Kuapa kokoo, and Asunafo North are notable among the producer organisations (POs) that have applied their premiums to the building and renovation of Clinics, Provision of equipment and fixtures, Health screening exercises for the community; telemedicine – use of ICT to transfer medical information between health workers and patients and Registration of members onto the National Health Insurance Scheme,” Vice President Blankson noted.
Fair Trade is a global movement that addresses the injustices of conventional trade by supporting smallholder farmers and workers to secure better terms of trade.
Members adhere to high standards with their production, including the so-called ten commandments of Fairtrade, among which is the requirement to produce in an environmentally sustainable way.
Members cannot also use child labour on their farms and are required to produce the highest quality crops so that the Network can fight for fair market conditions and price for the produce.
“When you see a product with a Fair Trade label, it is a guarantee that it was produced to rigorous social, environmental, and ethical standards,” Vice President Blankson noted.
FAIR TRADE GHANA NETWORK was established originally as Fairtrade Ghana Network in July 2013 with support from Fairtrade Africa to collaborate better with Fairtrade certified producer organisations in Ghana and encourage others to join the Fairtrade movement and get certification
There are a number of Fair Trade certification labels globally. In Ghana, the 3 main labels are – Fairtrade, World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and Fair for Life.
In 2016, after FTGN had gone dormant for two years, it was revamped in November through the Equity Project, a sub-regional project to contribute to the sustainable economic development of low-income countries, fighting against poverty and strengthening family agriculture by supporting the development of equitable sustainable sectors in West Africa.