Fair Trade Forum Fund
An article by Juliane Gallersdorfer and Lukas Harth
Following the successful completion of the individual measure COVID19 Emergency Aid for Fair Trade, which benefited 760 producer organisations and over 1 million small farmers, the individual measure Food Crisis Emergency Aid now follows
COVID19 Emergency Aid for Fair Trade
In response to the socio-economic hardship faced by smallholder farmers and producer organisations in countries of the Global South as a result of severely depressed agricultural markets in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, BMZ commissioned GIZ to implement the so-called COVID-19 Emergency Aid for Fair Trade. Equipped with a budget of EUR 19.5 million, the emergency aid was financed through the Special Initiative "One World Without Hunger" (SEWOH) Fund for the Promotion of Innovations in the Agri-Food Sector (i4Ag) and implemented through the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA). The aim of the initiative, in cooperation with various partners, including Forum Fairer Handel e.V. (FFH), was to quickly and effectively alleviate the hardship that had arisen for smallholder farmers on the ground and their producer organisations (farmers' cooperatives, processing companies, export companies, etc.).
The cooperation with the FFH made it possible to alleviate the emergency situation in a large number of producing countries within a short period of time. Through a fund for the FFH's producer partners, numerous producer organisations could be directly addressed and appropriate measures implemented. Immediate relief measures included the distribution of health and hygiene items such as masks and disinfectants or food packages. In addition, resilience measures ranged from the construction of greenhouses in Honduras to agricultural training and the purchase of a machine for grinding cinnamon in Sri Lanka.
Thanks to the successful cooperation with the FFH, 73 producer organisations have been supported since the start of the term in October 2020 and approximately 50,000 smallholder farmers in 16 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa have benefited from COVID-19 Emergency Fair Trade Assistance.
Emergency food crisis aid
In addition to the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the constant challenge of the climate crisis, which is clearly and tangibly burdening and endangering agriculture in the Global South, there are now the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Rising prices for food, energy and fertiliser, as well as problems in logistics and access to markets, threaten to undermine progress towards resilience and the livelihoods of many smallholder farmers in the Global South. This is why the BMZ launched the emergency food crisis aid and commissioned GIZ to implement it. i4Ag is one of four commissioned GIZ projects, which cooperates with 9 other projects and was commissioned by the BMZ with 16.4 million euros in special cash funds. As part of this project partnership, INA received a budget of 7 million euros for implementation. The past as well as the current crises have made it clear how important it is for smallholder farmers globally to build comprehensive resilience to the impacts of external shocks.
Within this framework, GIZ and the FFH are now once again supporting the trading partners of the FFH members in a proven partnership with their own fund to withstand the current crises triggered by the war in Ukraine. At the end of September, the steering unit of the fund for the FFH's producer partners accepted 33 applications from the producer partners. The focus here is even more on building resilience for smallholder farmers in the Global South in the face of future crises. The applications include measures such as the construction of solar plants or the production of fertiliser. These measures help to make smallholder farmers less dependent on global energy and fertiliser prices and thus make them fit for future crises.
Producer partner projects are currently being initiated in collaboration with GIZ country offices and will run until August 2023. The Food Crisis Emergency Response team within INA hopes to see similarly encouraging results to those achieved through the COVID-19 Fair Trade Emergency Response and to strengthen Fair Trade to meet future challenges and crises.