Stay updated with the latest developments at Fairtrade Asia-Pacific.

Changes to EU Organic Rules Threaten Farmers’ Livelihoods

Nuremberg, Germany. EMBARGOED UNTIL 12 FEB, 1000 CET

New EU organic regulations, due to come into force in 2021, will limit the size of organizations, forcing small-scale farmers to restructure their cooperatives, and creating high costs when they are already struggling to make ends meet. At Biofach, the world’s largest organic fair, Fairtrade urgently calls on the European Commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, to abandon these changes and instead find solutions which do not negatively impact small-scale farmers and their communities.

The new EU Organic Regulation includes rules for the certification of organic farmers in a cooperative or producer group. The proposed changes will limit such groups to 1000 members, and individual farm size to five hectares.

Fairtrade farmers have voiced extreme concern at the planned changes. Close to half of all Fairtrade producers also farm organically and around 100 Fairtrade small producer organizations, representing more than 400,000 smallholder farmers stand to be affected due to their size. Worldwide it will impact more than 2.6 million organic producers, according to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL).

Being able to group together in larger cooperatives or associations enables small-scale farmers to reduce costs, make joint investments and, crucially, negotiate from a position that would otherwise be beyond their reach. The proposed changes would force Fairtrade and organic certified cooperatives to split into smaller groups, taking away their right to self-determination and increasing their costs and paperwork. Moreover, it risks making them into weaker entities that will struggle to compete and survive in global supply chains.

The regulation will also require producer organizations who export or process their product (for example coffee cooperatives who roast and export their own coffee), to set up a separate entity for this purpose. This again creates additional costs and burden for producers, and will prevent many of them from moving up the value chain, which is widely recognized as a crucial way for smallholders to make their own way out of poverty.

For Abel Fernandez, manager of Fairtrade and organic certified producer organization CONACADO in the Dominican Republic, the proposed changes are disastrous. CONACADO brings together more than 150 cocoa cooperatives, representing more than 10,000 small-scale farmers. “This EU regulation is against rural development and against international cooperation. It limits opportunities for disadvantaged groups and for small producers like our members to grow. It also has the potential to damage, or even destroy existing businesses like ours, as we will not be able to stem the additional costs and red tape.”

Fairtrade International CEO, Dario Soto Abril says: “The new organic regulation is completely at odds with the EU’s self-proclaimed commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of ending poverty and promoting sustainable production and consumption. It risks making organic certification too costly and complicated for small-scale farmers, shutting them out of European markets and the sales they need to feed their families. Fairtrade urgently calls on Commissioner Wojciechowski to abandon these changes and instead find solutions which work for the millions of people who depend on small-scale organic farming for their livelihoods.”

While Fairtrade recognizes the challenges of certifying large groups, the way forward must be to develop stronger assurance systems that can be adapted to different groups sizes, rather than small-scale farmers having to suffer due to the current capabilities of organic assurance bodies.

Together with the international organic movement, Fairtrade and its member organizations are seeking urgent discussions with the Agriculture Ministries of EU Member States to find workable solutions for small-scale farmers and their families.

Fairtrade will be at the Biofach fair in Nuremberg, Germany from 12-15 February. Meet Fairtrade producers and staff at our booth: Hall 7, stand 750.

For more information, contact Emily deRiel, Communications Manager: / Tel +49 228 949 23 277


Fairtrade Asia Pacific collaborates with Fairtrade Africa and CLAC on Humans of Fairtrade

The social media platform aims to share stories of Fairtrade-certified producers.

Fairtrade Asia Pacific is partnering with its fellow producer networks, Fairtrade Africa and Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo (CLAC) on Humans of Fairtrade, a social media platform where Fairtrade-certified producers will share their personal experiences with the Fairtrade Label.

Humans of Fairtrade will be available on Facebook at and on Instagram.

Modelled on the popular Humans of New York platform, Humans of Fairtrade will bring together the thoughts, opinions, hopes, aspirations, adversities, and stories of farmers and workers that are part of the fair trade movement.

“We are delighted to be part of Humans of Fairtrade,” said Ayan A. Banerjee, CEO of Fairtrade Asia Pacific. “Producer networks ensure that member producers’ voice is heard in the global Fairtrade system. And now, with this social media partnership, we hope to amplify it to our many partners as well.”

Fairtrade strengthens the position of small holder farmers and workers in the value chain. By offering an alternative approach to trade, it supports farmers and workers in securing better markets, contributing to greater sustainable development in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Fairtrade Asia Pacific was established in 2014 and is a member of Fairtrade International.

For more details, visit

Collaboration with the Belgium Development Agency – BTC

The Belgium Development Agency – BTC has partnered with Fairtrade Network of Asia and Pacific Producers to develop Sustainable Cocoa Supply Chains from Vietnam. The programme will impact 350 small householder cocoa-producing families from the provinces of Dak Lak and Dak Nong over two years.

The Vietnam Cooperative Alliance is a semi-government agency and is NAPP’s strategic partner for the project. They will provide expertise and support in working with the three cooperatives.

Mr. Tran Hug, NAPP project manager, is working collaboratively to train the three cooperatives and prepare them for the Fairtrade Certification process to enable them to be part of the Fairtrade Supply Chain. He can be reached at

New Fairtrade Textile Standard and Programme aim to protect workers in the textile industry

Fairtrade’s new Textile Standard and Programme are designed to tackle  challenging working conditions by extending the Fairtrade approach to the entire textile supply chain. “By committing to Fairtrade, companies can now help improve the social and economic wellbeing of workers across the entire production chain,” says Martin Hill, Interim CEO at Fairtrade International. Read more.

European Commission and Fairtrade International join forces to drive sustainable development

Fairtrade International has been chosen as one of the European Commission’s strategic partners for the next five years to help deliver a better deal for small-scale farmers and workers round the world. Read more.

Sustainable Development Goals and Fairtrade: the case for partnership

The report Sustainable Development Goals and Fairtrade: the case for partnership is primarily intended as a tool for governments to understand the ways in which Fairtrade can support delivery of the SDGs; and by partner organizations, such as businesses who want to understand more about how they can work with the Fairtrade movement to generate real and lasting progress. Read more.

Fairtrade International (FLO): Climate Standard

Fairtrade International developed the Fairtrade Climate Standard, as a way to support smallholders and rural communities to produce Fairtrade Carbon Credits and gain access to the carbon market. Fairtrade Carbon Credit projects enable producers to make their contribution to climate change mitigation while adapting to climate change.

The Fairtrade Climate Standard was developed in collaboration with the Gold Standard, an internationally recognized organization with expertise in climate and development projects. The Fairtrade Climate Standard is an add-on standard to Gold Standard certification of carbon emissions reductions and sustainable development benefits. Read more.