The World Fair Trade Organization-Asia and the Fairtrade Labelling Organization yesterday vowed to assist small farmers of Negros become part of a full trading organization, and not just remain as producers.
At the press conference at the Governor’s Hall at the Provincial Capitol Building in Bacolod City, Ramona Ramos, director of the WFTO-Asia, said marketing the products of the farmers the fair trade way is necessary to become a real fair trade organization and they must become a duly-recognized FT organization.
Hagung Hendrawa, liaison officer of FLO Southeast Asia, said he will help farmers understand FT market system, the sugar market, the FLO certification of their products and organization, and can link them with other fairtrade groups.
FT international is owned by producer organizations and farmers and the benefits are circulated within them, he said.
With FT markets their products are purchased at premium prices. They also practice gender equality, sustainable environment, and labor rights, she added.
Ramos also said that there is opportunity for Negros farmers with FT because they can benefit from it and it is a strategy that they can take before the 2015 implementation of the tariff on sugar and other agricultural products.
Edwin Lopez, executive director of Alter Trade Foundation, Inc. said they are supportive of the efforts of the government to broaden the membership of fairtrade in Negros because they have witnessed it helped the lives of their 650 partner farmers.
Lopez, who is also the head of the task force Negros Fairtrade, said that with the creation of the Negros Island Fairtrade Federation, they are looking in to the 118,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries who can be part of FT market.
Meanwhile, Regina Martin, administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administration also said that her commitment to all stakeholders is for them to have productive businesses and improved productivity and efficiency at a lower cost.*LTG