THE charity Transform Trade has launched an appeal to help fairtrade producers in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, and Tanzania to “move forward in a world without Traidcraft”.
Traidcraft PLC went into administration last month (News, 27 January). Transform Trade (formally known as Traidcraft Exchange) was its charitable arm and continues operating — it works in partnership with workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs in South Asia and East Africa to campaign for trade that values people over profit.
Last week, a press release from Transform Trade announced a new Producer Fund to coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight, which began on Monday.
It explained: “In the wake of Traidcraft plc’s closure in January, fair trade and ethical producer groups around the world have lost a market for a proportion of their sales. Depending on how much is raised, the new Producer Fund will enable Transform Trade to support some of them to find new markets and expand their operations, alongside stepping up support for producers and social enterprises more generally in the global south.”
The chief executive of Transform Trade, Charlotte Timson, said: “The world of ethical trade is under threat. This Fund will help put power back in the hands of artisans, growers, and makers so they can face an uncertain future with confidence, in the same pioneering spirit of Traidcraft plc’s early days.
“We urgently need to increase support for mission-centred enterprises and people-centred trade.”
One of the producers is Meru Herbs, which sells organic teas, jams, and pesto sauces. Its largest export market is the UK, and Traidcraft was its largest buyer.
The managing director of Meru, Sally Sawaya, said that 285 farmers relied on orders from Meru Herbs. “Including their families, around 1500 people will be adversely affected. That includes 20 support staff who cook the sauces and jams who we won’t be able to give work if we don’t get sufficient orders.”
Donations to the fund will be used to pay for equipment, training, mentoring, and network building for producers in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, and Tanzania.