Fair Trade is much more than fair price!
We are already practicing and even exceeding Fair Trade parameters, and wanted to share this with our customers.
FAIR PRICE: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.
Coconut Sap farmers and harvesters in our community grower group in the Philippines equally get 50% share of the market price for coconut sap which is way beyond the guaranteed minimum floor price. They do not receive minimum wages but instead, 50% equal share of the value of the sap. This is not only fair price but equal price. Fair means being "just" or "appropriate" to the circumstance. Equal means being the same in quantity or value – without discrimination on any grounds.
FAIR LABOR CONDITIONS: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.
There is complete freedom of association and safe working conditions – as the farmers live and work on the farms where they were born and raised. There are NO child laborers as only skilled adult men with experience as tappers can harvest the sap of the coconut tree, so not all adult men qualify to climb a coconut tree, let alone a child. It also takes skilled, experienced adult workers to do the processing of the sap and children are not allowed to participate.
DIRECT TRADE: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
100% financing is provided to the farmers for all international certifications such as organic, kosher, etc. Since most farmers have minimum formal education most are not able to properly fill out the voluminous documentary requirements and paperwork required by the certifying agencies. Due to limited formal education they have no knowledge on export procedures and documentation to successfully market their products. These tasks are not their forte as they are coconut farmers and prefer to simply tend their farms and harvest the sap.
They have limited knowledge of the changing world markets or international trends in the market place and many do not have direct access to computers as there is no or limited internet connection in the coastal areas and remote islands. Because many farmers do not read and write in order to fill out all the pertinent forms and reports required by organic certifiers, we assist them every step of the way to make all these things possible. Without the specialized assistance that we offer (and more), our coconut farmers would not have the opportunity to compete in the global marketplace. The most important thing to them, is to have food on their tables and the ability to rise above the poverty level. By supporting our farmers in generating an income, we are helping to provide them with the opportunity to revive their trade and assist them in literally all aspects of business.
DEMOCRATIC AND TRANSPARENT ORGANIZATIONS: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.
Farm workers earn their own income and make their own personal decisions on how to invest their earnings. It is not our right or desire to dictate to them how they should invest their revenues. It is totally to the farmer’s individual discretion as to what he chooses to do with his own income.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.
As mentioned, we finance and provide all training for the farmers. We provide capital for them and cover all of the organic and kosher certification fees which are not passed on to the farmers. We also provide accident insurance and other health benefits, and none of these additional operating expenses are charged to or deducted from the personal income that each and every farm worker earns.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable organic farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.
We do NOT use any chemical-based or artificial fertilizers on any of the coconut farms. Farmers in developing countries like the Philippines are not able to afford expensive imported chemical-based fertilizers even if they were available. Coconut trees are NON-GMO and do not require any artificial chemicals. All they require is the natural salt from the sea and sea air. Coconut trees thrive on the nutrients washed down from inland towards the sea, and the minerals washed ashore from the belly of the sea. In their natural habitat, the trees do not require any watering or chemical growth aids.