MEDIA RELEASE: 'Fair Trade for development in Africa' conference rolls out

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It’s official! The internationally respected Fair Trade label, already enjoying global recognition in over thirty countries worldwide, is about to catch on in a particularly big way here in South Africa.

Representing a watershed event in the making for Africa’s agricultural sector – in particular the socio-economic spin-offs of this sector for community-based farming initiatives – the inaugural Fair Trade for Development in Africa Conference takes place at the Stellenbosch, Cape Town-based Sustainability Institute on Tuesday, 16 and Wednesday, 17 October. The event will include the Annual General Meeting of Fair Trade South Africa.

Delivering the keynote address will be guest of honour, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, the Honourable Mr Derek Hanekom.

Fair Trade, for its part, represents a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.

Highlights of the conference will include the Tuesday 16 October launch of Fairtrade for Development in Africa (an African Fairtrade Network initiative funded by Comic Relief and being implemented by Fairtrade Foundation (UK) and supported by Fair Trade Labelling Organisations International - FLO), as well as the launch of an initiative titled "Empowerment of Emerging Farmers through Fair-trade Development in South Africa" (an initiative funded by the European Union and implemented by Netherlands-headquartered Non-Governmental Organisation Solidaridad with four South African partners, including Fair Trade South Africa).

Following Deputy Minister of Science & Technology Derek Hanekom’s opening address, the impressive line-up of local and international speakers and topics are:

Tuesday, 16 October:
• Raymond Kimaro (African Fairtrade Network)
• Chris Davis (Fairtrade Foundation United Kingdom)
• Sandra Kruger (Producer Business Unit, FLO e.V.)
• Ms Joan Karanja (Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa – COFTA)
• Bronwyn Page-Shipp (FLO-Cert)
• Andreas Kratz (Head of Standards Unit, FLO e.V.)
• Noel Oettle (Chairperson Fair Trade South Africa, speaking on setting the stage for Fair Trade in southern Africa)
• Yorokamu Abainenamar (African Fair Trade Network representative on the FLO Board)

Wednesday, 17 October:
• Group discussion: Common challenges faced in Southern Africa by Fair Trade producers and traders, and how these can be addressed collectively
• What makes an effective Network
• Vision and Mission Statement for the Network
• Strategic Objectives for the Network
• Linking into the African Fairtrade Network
 
“Co-hosting the Fair Trade for Development in Africa Conference represents for us at Fair Trade South Africa the culmination of years of solid groundwork – another Fair Trade dream coming to life!” asserts Noel Oettle, Chairperson of Fair Trade South Africa.
 
Learn more about Fair Trade by visiting the following websites:
www.fairtrade.org.za (official website for Fair Trade South Africa)
www.africafairtrade.net (Africa Fairtrade Network)
www.sustainabilityinstitute.net (Sustainability Institute, Lynedoch, Stellenbosch, South Africa)
www.emg.org.za (Environmental Monitoring Group)
www.fairtrade.org.uk (Fairtrade Foundation, UK-based)
www.fairtrade.net (Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International – FLO)
www.solidaridad.net
 
Fair Trade South Africa can be contacted through Chairperson Noel Oettle on telephone (027) 218-1117, or mobile (083) 693-8676, or via e-mail info@fairtrade.org.za.


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