Liberation’s shareholder farmers in Nicaragua are a highly organised and enterprising bunch. Similar to our cashew farmers in Kerala they are especially passionate about organic farming, recognising and strengthening women’s roles in farming and income generation and learning to live with increasingly obvious changes to their climate.
Paradoxically, of the one billion people classified as food insecure by the United Nations, about 500 million are smallholder farmers in developing economies. Some of these producers are exporting luxuries such as coffee, cocoa, exotic fruits and sugar for consumers in developed economies. Due to poor and volatile prices coupled with unfair trade rules, they simply don’t earn enough to feed their families all year round and often experience the problem of seasonal hunger between harvests.
As ever in January we are swept up on a tide of talk about healthy eating. My modus operandi in January is actually to keep eating up the Christmas cake whilst I read and watch all the interesting stuff about healthy eating…I will reign in the calorie count come early Spring when the weather tells me to come out of comfort eating mode.
Liberation Foods, became a community interest company in 2007. Co-operatives of small-scale nut producers from around the developing world decided to get together to form a UK company through which to market their produce. These co-ops were brought together by Twin, a pioneer of Fair Trade that had founded Cafédirect and Divine Chocolate.
Global demand for alternative proteins is set to double in just eight years– according to a new report by Lux Research. The market for alternative proteins – those beyond fish and meat – is predicted to grow by 14% annually to reach 38 million tonnes by 2024.
I thought I’d be glad to see a headline that wasn’t about Trump or Brexit, but, ‘is Cadbury move the end for Fairtrade?’ provides no light relief – not for me or the small-scale nut farmers who are shareholders of Liberation Foods. To the Liberation nut farmers, Fairtrade certification means a decent price for their crop, a price that covers their costs and enables them to keep farming. It means a Fairtrade premium to invest back into their farms, co-operatives and communities. And it means the assurance of pre-finance to secure their crops. The pre-finance loan comes on the back of the purchase contracts we place with the farmer co-ops each year – well in advance of their harvest season – to enable good planning and reliable supply. Fairtrade certification also requires our farmers to run their co-operatives in a transparent, democratic manner and thus take collective responsibility for dealing with the myriad challenges and issues that their members face.