Fair trade is not just a mechanism of economics but there is an agreement supporting the sustainability of the organization in partnership with the producers, processors, and consumers, Hagung Hendrawan, liaison officer for Asia Pacific of Fairtrade Labeling Organization, said yesterday, in Bacolod City.
Hendrawan was in the city for the orientation and dialog on Mainstreaming Fair Trade Opportunities for Negros Occidental.
He said FLO believes in trade and not in aid, thus, their support to businesses and organizations looks for access to market, buyers, and linkages.
Fair trade also requires capacity-building and empowerment for the producer because there is an agreement that FLO will support the organization on a long term basis provided that they implement strong labor rights, Hendrawan said.
“Fair trade does not only talk about the welfare of the producer but also the welfare of the workers,” he said.
Every individual can be a part of FLO since they focus on providing market access for marginalized producers, sustainable and equitable trading relationships, capacity building empowerment, and consumer awareness raising and advocacy, Hendrawan said.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. meanwhile said that fair trade and the organic movement are interrelated, and added that the provincial government is working hard to help the agriculture industry and the small farmers in preparation for 2015 when there will zero tariff on sugar.
The governor also said that food production is the primary focus of the province under the Negros First 11-point program to help small farmers especially the agrarian reform beneficiaries describing them as “very vulnerable” to any drastic changes in the society.
Hendrawan is the FLO regional coordinator for Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines.
He has worked with the organization since 2009 and his involvement in fair trade movement started in 1985 when he joined Oxfam International, a confederation of 15 organizations working together to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.*LTG