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Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.

 

Sri Lanka fares well at Fairtrade awards

Monday, July 07, 2014 > 09:16:04
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(Sunday Times)


Sri Lankan individuals and companies swept the board at the first-ever Fairtrade awards organised by Fairtrade International held last month.


Pioneer Sri Lankan fair-trade entrepreneur Sarath Ranaweera was conferred the title of “Fairest Fairtrader” while the Marginalised Organic Producers Association (MOPA) in Sri Lanka won in the category “Small Producer Organization – Asia” and the Stassen Bio Tea Project in Sri Lanka secured an award for “Workers’ Premium Committee Asia”.



The three awards won by Sri Lanka was among eight awards presented by Fairtrade International, part of an fair trade movement that works towards ensuring fairer trade and treatment for millions of smallholder farmers and workers. The awards recognize the achievements of farmers and workers, traders and companies, campaigners and staff across the world. Dr. Ranaweera, a fair-trade pioneer and a specialist who in 1993 set up Bio Foods (Pvt) Ltd which processes and exports organic teas, spices, rice and other products, was among over 100 groups and individuals who applied or were nominated for the Fairtrade awards. The eight winners were selected by an independent panel which included small producers, workers’ committees, traders, and individuals.


The awards citation said Dr. Ranaweera formed the Small Organic Farmers’ Association (SOFA) in 1997 to support farmers with training in organic farming practices and purchase guarantees.


“The certification of Bio Foods as a Fairtrade exporter in 1997 and SOFA as a Fairtrade small producer organization in 1998 revolutionized the local agricultural system and social development of farmers, their families and the community,” it said.In the case of the Stassen Bio Tea Project in Sri Lanka, it was stated that workers on this project decided to invest in essential transport services that ‘are key to improving the lives of people in the communities’. The purchase of a bus that runs three times a day to the nearest town – a distance of 12 kilometres – provides community members with improved access to work, education, health care, and improved shopping options, is said, adding: “The bus has dramatically improved school attendance and access to many other services”.


The MOPA is a group whose members dedicate 75 per cent of their Fairtrade Premium to fund projects proposed by the farmers themselves. “Their primary focus is on improving productivity and product quality, and sustainable production methods, as well as on improving the living conditions of the farmers and their personal development,” the citation said.


 

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