For smallholder farmers and agriculture workers around the world, several global trends—such as climate change, a lack of access to adaptive technology, and volatile agriculture markets and pricing—have been making smallholder farming an increasingly difficult way of life. The coronavirus pandemic has further exacerbated farmer’ livelihoods, as their access to production inputs, local transportation, and global supply chains have all been hampered as a result of COVID-19.
It is in this challenging period that we can examine the strength of various equity systems, to see if they are, in fact, increasing the resilience of the most vulnerable. With this in mind, Fairtrade International aims to assess whether its certification system has enabled producer organisations to better respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Athena Infonomics, in partnership with Scio Network GmBH & Co KG, has been working with Fairtrade International to evaluate the relationship between Fairtrade-certified and non-certified producer organisations and their affiliated famers/workers, their external environments, and the quality of those environments. In doing so, the research team will be able to assess whether and how being Fairtrade certified contributes to the resilience of Fairtrade members, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study.
This research will also allow us to understand, document, and learn about the additional impact of Fairtrade COVID-relief support for Fairtrade producer organisations and their affiliated members. With the resulting insights, we will be able to determine whether being part of the Fairtrade certification system has enabled producer organisations to better respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and whether being part of the Fairtrade system also makes producer organisations and affiliated members more resilient with regard to future crises.
As this research progresses, we will share our observations in subsequent blog posts.