Fairtrade ANZ held its annual Pacific Stakeholders' Workshop in Nadi, Fiji in October. The three day workshop was attended by 28 representatives from producer organisations from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, and focused on organisational strengthening of the Fairtrade Pacific Sub-Network and business development through targeted investment.
On the first day of the workshop, participants were updated on the latest developments in the international Fairtrade system, including the increasing sales of Fairtrade products across the world and the opening of new markets for Fairtrade products particularly in Asia. In the afternoon, producer representatives shared their latest achievements and challenges, and reflected on their plans and ways in which Fairtrade ANZ could provide support to achieve them.
The second day focused on the Fairtrade Pacific Sub-Network, the representative body for Pacific Fairtrade producers into the international Fairtrade system. The Pacific Sub-Network is currently made up of five board members who represent Fairtrade certified organisations in the Pacific selling coconuts, vanilla, sugar and coffee. The day began with a refresher training on good governance, which was followed by the Sub-Network’s first Annual General Meeting, in which members approved the new office bearers’ roles and the updated constitution, as well as discussed plans for next year. Pacific Sub-Network chairperson Parbindra Singh, who co-organised the workshop with Fairtrade ANZ, was enthusiastic about the outcomes of the day. “We are pleased that the Pacific Sub-Network is beginning to run as an efficient representative organisation, it is a big step forward for the Sub-Network to be able to meet in person and to discuss our plans for the future.”
The final day of the workshop focused on Fairtrade ANZ’s Producer Development Fund (PDF), which through the support of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, targets smallholder producer organisations in the Pacific wishing to improve their access to international Fairtrade markets. The session began with representatives of Pacific producer organisations sharing their experiences on the projects they have implemented with support of PDF funding, and was followed by a brainstorming session on future opportunities for investment, in the area of value adding in particular. Several producer organisations present at the workshop had received these grants before and gave presentations on what their organisations had been able to achieve with the support of PDF funding. Participants then discussed opportunities to add value to the products they produce through the PDF. At the close of the session, representatives were encouraged to continue the conversation with their membership and then work with their Fairtrade Liaison Officer to apply for support through the PDF.
The workshop concluded with a visit to the sugar cane fields of Lautoka Cane Producers' Association, where participants witnessed the association’s new Fairtrade Premium funded cane harvester in action, a clear demonstration of how Fairtrade producers in the Pacific are investing in business development to create strong and resilient producer communities.
Fairtrade ANZ Pacific Stakeholders' Workshop attendees.