Fair trade can be the safety net for small farmers when the zero tariff on sugar and other agricultural products is implemented in 2015, Edwin Lopez, head of the task force fair trade in Negros Occidental, said yesterday.
Lopez, who is also the executive director of Alter Trade Foundation Inc., said at its NFT assembly at the Governor’s Hall that fair trade markets buy products at better prices and reward farmers with fair trade premiums which only its members can benefit from.
He said the fair trade relationship is durable so if it will be started it for a wider group of small farmers in Negros, they can think of 10 to 20 years for a good opportunity for them as it gives importance especially to farmers who have five or less hectares of land.
To be member of fair trade, farmers have to register their organization with the Security and Exchange Commissions, must have higher pay for laborers, must show equal treatment to women, no child labor, and production system should be ecologically sustainable, he added.
Lopez also said that Ramona Ramos, who is the director of World Fair Trade Organization-Asia and Hagung Hendrawan, liason officer of Fairtrade Labeling International will arrive in Bacolod City to speak before the members of Negros Fair Trade.
The delegation will also be joined by Regina Martin, administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administration who will talk on the prospect of the sugar industry after 2015, he added.
All lectures will be held at the Governor’s Hall at the Provincial Capitol Building in Bacolod City.*LTG