Fair Trade Grows In South Africa


The sale of fair trade products is blooming in South Africa and Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA), the organization that administers the well-known Fairtrade certification system around the world, has just announced the country’s first ever Fairtrade Week (November 14 to 20, 2011).

FLSA’s Executive Director, Boudewijn Goossens, says that he is “confident in the ethical consciousness of South African consumers” and has “no doubt that they will be excited in tasting the positive changes brought about by Fairtrade in our country simply by choosing Fairtrade certified products in their everyday shopping.”

According to his organization, Fairtrade improves the lives of farmers and their families by alleviating poverty and poor working conditions while at the same time providing consumers with an ethical choice. For every Fairtrade certified product sold, a portion of the profit, called the Fairtrade Premium, is paid to the farming community that produced the item. The community itself then democratically decides how to use the premium for improvement projects that benefit it as a whole. Fairtrade certified farms are also required to implement sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

South Africa is the first emerging market in the global South to introduce and promote local fair trading, by not only exporting Fairtrade certified goods like wine and rooibos tea, but also offering Fairtrade products such as chocolate and coffee to local consumers.

South Africa currently has more than 60 Fairtrade certified producer organizations and sales tripled from R5.7 million (about $700,000) in 2009 to R18.4 million ($2.3 million) in 2010.

The local wine industry represents a particularly spectacular Fairtrade success. South Africa is home to the world’s first Fairtrade wine producer, Thandi Wines, which was awarded its official certification in 2003. Today, there are 17 certified wine grape producing organizations and more than 25 companies involved in Fairtrade wine making and trading in the country. In 2010, two thirds of the 17 million bottles of Fairtrade certified wine sold worldwide came from South African farms.

Now there’s a trend I’d love to see continue!

Andreas is a book shop manager and freelance writer in Cape Town, South Africa. Follow him on Twitter: @Andreas_Spath


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Photo from: Stock.Xchng


Thomas P.
Thomas P6 years ago


Benjamin D.
Benjamin D.7 years ago


Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers7 years ago

A breath of fresh air!

Benjamin D.
Benjamin D.7 years ago

well...there is a lot this article doesn't say about fair trade as a company. fair trade the organization helps mostly the larger farms that have more money to pay for their seal of approval. whereas medium to small size coffee operations suffer the stigma of being labeled or assumed to be "unfair".

its another way for rich people to get richer off of the disadvantaged.

i thought this was a real article, but it seems to be more of an ad campaign.

Angela Morrison

why we swindle people I will never know

Emma S.
Emma S7 years ago

Cheering stuff!

Jorge Calderon


Alison Fernandes
Alison Fernandes7 years ago

On the face of it, Fair Trade seems to be an organisation designed to support local farmers and smallholders by ensuring that they have markets to sell to and a fair price for their produce. I would like to see more information "from the horse's mouth" so to speak, confirming that the growers are actually getting the support and fair prices for their prdouce we are led to believe is there for them. I am concerned also that Monsanto may be involved in Fair Trade and if this is the case, I would think twice about buying Fair Trade produce if it originates from GM seed.

Wende Anne Maunder
Wendé Maunder7 years ago

Great news. The more fair trade the merrier I shall be.

Val G.
Val G7 years ago

Thank you Andreas,... I appreciated your article :)