terra nostra organic

Equitable Trade Background

The founder of Terra Nostra Organic is always trying to craft as many products as possible following these socially responsible trade guidelines.

A) Organic
Although not registered Fair Trade, the Organic Farming practices in essence, provide farmers with a sustainable development method which in most cases not only translates to the farming methods but the responsible social aspects.

Also, Organic farmers get paid a premium for growing Organic ingredients which should translate to a better standard of living.

B) Equitable Trade
Is a membership trade association that goes "Beyond Fair Trade" values and standards with the mission to incorporate a much broader and more meaningful set of social, business, environmental and ethically responsible principles and standards into business and trade practices.  Equitable Trade (ET) has a distinguished mission.
ET certified products will be “fair traded”; that is, in the traditional sense that products are traded at a living wage that is compatible with the local community but, in addition, the source trading partner and the local community will also benefit from a supplemental investment made as part of ET practices.  The typical “fair trade” price is derived from and added to the normal “market” price and this is often referred to as the “premium” paid to the seller over and above the “market” price.  In addition, the buyer (i.e., wholesale trader, retail trader) pays a percentage of each purchase, for example 1% of gross fair trade sales, which is called a certification or trademark fee, in order to display the “Fair Trade” logo.  In the case of Equitable Trade and, unlike Fair Trade associations where the entire membership fee is retained by the trade association, ET charges a membership, (trademark) fee of one per cent (1%) and retains 20% of that fee for administrative costs.  The remaining eighty per cent (80%) is placed in a community investment fund that will be reinvested directly back into site-specific development projects that enhance and nurture vibrant, healthy communities and the ecosystems from which these traded materials are derived.  Decisions regarding community investment projects will be developed in cooperation with each member who was assessed the one per cent fee.  These reinvestment efforts, along with the improved trading processes described in the opening paragraph, thereby go Beyond Fair Trade and contribute further to the overall strengthening of the supplier’s/farmer’s ability to remain viable and financially sustainable while also improving the health and well being of the community and related ecosystem. 

Please see www.equitabletrade.org for more information.

Child & Slave Labor Update 2005
One of the most important milestones in the industry Protocol has now been completed, namely the launch and implementation of a series of pilot programs in West Africa to promote responsible labor and sustainable farming practices. The region-wide action program is the result of more than 12 months' work by a broad international alliance of industry, governments, leading experts on labor and agricultural issues, activists, consumer coalitions and other interest groups.

The pilot projects have been developed in response to the first independent survey of several thousand cocoa farms compiled by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in 2002 to gain a better understanding of cocoa farming labor practices in West Africa, the extent of possible abusive labor practices and the underlying causes.

The pilot programs implement and assess different approaches to ensuring that children and adults are not subjected to abusive labor conditions in the growing of cocoa in the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria, as well as in the growing of cashews in Guinea. The pilot programs were implemented during the course of 2003 and are moving ahead throughout West Africa, reaching tens of thousands of cocoa farming families.

The pilot programs can be broadly grouped into two categories:

1) Responsible labor practices and child labor intervention
These pilot programs–designed and managed by the International Labor Organization (ILO)–directly promote responsible labor practices and address instances of abusive or forced labor through a variety of approaches, including:
• Social protection - Targeting farming families for direct assistance; at-risk youth under 18 to be redirected from inappropriate work and retrained.
• Capacity building - Train agricultural authorities to detect and handle potentially problematic child labor issues.
• Child labor monitoring - Train inspection organizations, perform site visits.
• Knowledge dissemination - Compile best practices on responsible labor practices; disseminate through farming communities across the region.
• Awareness raising - Promote internationally accepted labor practices among farmers.

2) Strengthening farming communities
These pilot programs address the health and vibrancy of the local cocoa farming community. Furthermore, they seek to raise the livelihood of rural cocoa farming families and workers, thereby improving the opportunities for nutrition, health care and education. The programs are being managed through the national networks of the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP), a strategic development alliance in West Africa between farmers, the global chocolate/cocoa industry, governments, research institutes and the public sector. Specific pilot program elements include:
• Creating/strengthening local community, farmer organizations - Establish farmer groups; provide training in finance and marketing; improve access to credit.
• Market information systems - Test different systems to help farmers grow cocoa more efficiently, time their sales to take advantage of market price fluctuations, gain a greater share of the global price paid for cocoa.
• Technology dissemination - Promote diversified agriculture; combat diseases and other problems that hurt farm productivity; train farmers in safe, sustainable pest management.
• Radio education - Use of radio to educate farmers on safe farming techniques; offer at-home education to children; promote responsible labor practices.

Programs to improve farmer's incomes are showing results. In Cameroon, the Tree Crops Program focuses on where their farmers sell their crop – an area of opportunity to help boost farmer incomes. The STCP representatives trained Cameroon farmer organizations in business planning, marketing and accounting, and then established 300 sales points throughout the country where farmers could sell their cocoa as a group, thereby increasing their economic leverage. The result: Farmers participating in this one program alone earned approximately 15% more for their cocoa crop.

Another pilot project was launched in Ghana where a workshop on the democratic principles was held to empower farmer associations. Furthermore, the use of rural radio for farmer education and sensitization was scoped in Nigeria.

With safety a top concern, the unstable situation in the country has impacted work with cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast. In areas of relative stability, we are moving ahead with programs to promote responsible cocoa farming and address labor issues. "Cocoa Farmer Field Schools" are taking place in several locations. At the same time, work is underway to roll out new farmer training programs in potentially unsafe areas, using radio and other means to reach farmers until stability returns.

We are very pleased that tangible action directly influencing the lives and well-being of the cocoa farming families is now underway. We remain fully committed to playing our part in the industry's actions.

Let us finish by stressing that we at Terra Nostra strongly condemn the practice of forced or child labour in the harvesting, processing or at any other stage of the process of our products and we are continuing to work closely with our suppliers and agencies that assist us in applying working standard in line with above local standards.