The Fairtrade Relief Fund has helped the most vulnerable communities of Green Gold Cooperative – FLO ID 39324- a Fairtrade Coffee SPO in Myanmar to address various social challenges faced by the farmers and their family members in the communities. The foundation for the creation of the Cooperative began when the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in coordination with the Government of Myanmar, began implementing the Alternative Development (AD) Program in the townships of Hopong and Loilem in 2014, through which farmers who previously farmed opium were provided with a licit alternative– in this case namely coffee. The farmers benefiting from the livelihood component of the AD program soon realized the importance of creating a community structure to have a better position in the market. With the support of UNODC, 537 farmers created ‘The Green Gold Cooperative (Green Gold)’ on July 20, 2015. Since then, many more farmers have joined and current membership has reached over 900 farmers.
In Sep 2020 the Cooperative received a COVID 19 Fairtrade Relief funding support of 2595 € which was entirely invested for implementing health and safety projects to ensure the wellbeing of its members and communities. Personal Protective Equipment was distributed to all the farmer members and their families which included protective gowns, gloves, facemasks, face shields, caps, handwashing soaps, sanitizer sprayers, and disinfectants. Informative posters on COVID-19 19 and its safety measures were printed in local languages and distributed in 48 communities. The Project has directly benefited 937 beneficiaries and 3660 indirect beneficiaries who now have increased awareness and knowledge about the virus and its precautionary and preventive methods, access to personal protective equipment along with health and hygiene supplies to keep themselves and their communities safe.
Pics: Distribution of medical essentials and Informative posters by Green Gold Coop Board members to farmer members, their families communities
‘’To mitigate future risks, Green Gold Cooperative will continue to educate the communities to stay at home and avoid crowded public places. Since the use of masks and regular hand washing are proven measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in rural communities, our members will strictly follow these simple yet effective measures. We encourage our members to limit their travel plans to avoid exposure to infection, to maintain 2 meters/ 6 feet distance from others no matter where they are. Regular guidance is provided on observing hygiene practices of cleaning and disinfecting public areas. We have also provided healthcare emergency contact details to members if they or any of their family members fall ill. It is imperative that the communities are provided with sufficient resources and assistance along with educational and awareness program to strengthen its resilience and build back stronger in the future’’- Moe Thae Oo, Green Gold Cooperative Member
Green Gold Cooperativeive was Fairtrade certified in 2019, and through the support of Fairtrade Standards, the coop aims to become a reference in Myanmar on how it is possible to change to a model of coffee production, respecting the environment, providing the same opportunities, and protecting the rights of all.
The Agriculture and Rural Development Sector Coordination Group (ARDSCG) and the World Bank in Oct 2020 indicated the decline in the Crop prices and sales in Myanmar. Though the situation seemed to improve in the agricultural sector as the percentage of main workers without work dropped from 67% in May to 23% in June, however, farmers still suffered from lower yields due to weather change coupled with less income from crop farming.