Why Fairtrade matters more than ever, especially in the Pacific 

8 August 2022 

Fairtrade Australia New Zealand (ANZ) is asking consumers to take a stand against climate change by switching to Fairtrade products during its annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaign (3-16 August). 

As an organisation that works with farmers in the Pacific, Fairtrade ANZ sees the massive impacts of climate change on the farming communities there. Environmental disasters in Australia and New Zealand also point to the need for action, and buying Fairtrade is a simple step that consumers can take. 

Fairtrade ANZ CEO, Mike Briers, says that the connection between fair pay for farmers and sustainable farming is something Fairtrade wants to highlight. 

“The simple truth is that farmers in developing countries, including our neighbours in the Pacific, are often paid very low prices for their goods and that means they have to make tough choices. Even if they care about the long-term future of their land, feeding their families will always come first,” says Mike. 

For Fairtrade farmers, fair pay means the choices become easier. Having enough money for dinner and planting trees means that their farms will be sustainable in the long term and their families have what they need in the short term.” 

In addition to addressing the root causes of poverty, Fairtrade works directly with farmers on climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Recent examples of this work in the Pacific include water catchment and distribution tank programs in Timor Leste, a study to assess the carbon and water footprint of sugar farming in Fiji and a carbon sequestration and trading feasibility project for coffee growers in Papua New Guinea. 

“Despite contributing the least to the climate crisis, smallholders in developing countries are disproportionately affected and have fewer resources to adapt to changes in climate and other stresses,” says Mike. 

“If we want the future of our food to be secure, farmers need financial support and assistance to adapt to the climate emergency.” 

Floris Niu, a cocoa farmer from Samoa who is in the process of becoming Fairtrade certified, says that her connection to the land is at the very core of how she farms and that becoming a Fairtrade farmer is integral to that.  

“As a farmer/grower and food producer, Indigenous Excellence is honouring my ancestors and the food legacy they left for me. It’s now my job to preserve and create my own food legacy to ensure food security for my grandchildren and Fairtrade will help me to achieve that,” says Floris. 

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Mike Briers, Fairtrade ANZ CEO or Floris Niu from Ms Sunshine Organic Cooperative in Samoa, please contact Virginia Jones, Ph 61 0439 430 033 or virginia@fairtrade.com.au 

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