7th Africa Fairtrade Convention: Over 1500 participants, 99 countries expected

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The 7th Edition of the Africa Fairtrade Convention (AFC) will be held virtually from June 22 to June 25, 2021, the organizers – Fairtrade Africa (FTA) have announced.

The Africa Fairtrade Convention is a Flagship event of FTA that brings together producers, traders, partner organizations, Fairtrade movement, governments, policy makers and many other stakeholders.

This year’s edition will be on the theme Producers, Leading the Future of Trade’ and has the objective of discussing improvement of value chains, trade relations and conditions which translate to sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers in Africa.

Over 1500 participants from 99 countries within 5 continents are expected to actively participate in this year’s Convention.

At a virtual press conference on Tuesday June 15, the Programmes Director of Fairtrade Africa, Chris Oluoch, announced that the convention will culminate in the 2nd Edition of the Fair Ngoma Awards – a scheme that recognises outstanding farmers and workers in Africa.

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He said Farmers in Africa have lost 80 percent of their revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the pandemic has also seen many workers lose their jobs, as companies closed shops due to the lack of access to markets. Most countries also closed their borders.

Most affected was the flower sector where a number of flower farms shut down their businesses.

He said for instance that “In Kenya about three flower farms completely shut down their business, while in Tanzania, two farms closed shop. The effects of the pandemic continue to cause havoc on the agriculture sector in the region that is already suffering from post-harvest losses”.

The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Oluoch, has prompted a wake-up call for governments to increase their investments in protecting African farmers against the losses adding that there is a need to radically transform the food systems in Africa for efficiency and sustainability.

The Convention will enable farmers and workers to share best practices in a bid to build understanding of production in the region. Key topics to be discussed include access to markets, the role of standards and benefits of value addition, issues relating to unlocking trade and investment opportunities, market trends and sustainable and viable supply chain among others.

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Executive Director of Fairtrade Africa, Dr Argent Chuula, on his part remarked that “The convention which is being held virtually, will include deal rooms, networking lounges, virtual farm tours, virtual exhibitions, breakaway sessions, as well as discussions on upcoming market regulation; the impact of new rules for the certification of organic grower groups in developing countries supplying the growing EU organic market”.

Among the participants expected to attend the Convention are trade organizations, finance and microfinance institutions, government representatives, traders and buyers; Fairtrade system members as well as Fairtrade Africa member farmers and workers. Key partners for the conference include the European Union (EU) and Fairtrade Deutchland.

Fair NGOMA Awards

The 2nd Edition of the Fair Ngoma Awards will see producers win different awards in the 14 categories under consideration, 5 for hired labour, 5 for small producer organizations and 4 specials awards.

7th Africa Fairtrade Convention: Over 1500 participants, 99 countries expected

The awards are named the FAIR (Fairtrade Africa Impact Recognition) Ngoma Awards. Ngoma is a Swahili word meaning drums. Drums are a revered instrument in Africa with a rich history and play a significant role in the definition of the African culture. Its influence resonates across the continent bringing togetherness, a common pulse and a common rhythm. We drum to recognize the fruit of their labour and farming as a business, we drum to recognize the role they individually play in determining their own destiny!

The 7th Edition of the Africa Fairtrade Convention and 2nd Edition of the Fair Ngoma Awards are co-funded by the European Union through the project “Unlocking the Power of Producers and Workers to Drive Inclusive Trade and Development through Fairtrade”. This project is being implemented across the Fairtrade system to strengthen its governance systems, promote inclusion and efficiency within the system and increase the system’s capacity to implement advocacy actions to better support producers and workers.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa add up to $4 billion annually.

Across Africa, the vast majority of food loss happens between harvest and the point of sale – very little is wasted by consumers after purchase. Some of the leading causes of food loss in Africa are a lack of cold chain facilities especially for perishables, unreliable and inadequate storage facilities and insufficient agro-processing skills among smallholder farming communities.

Africa Fairtrade Convention is a Flagship event organized by Fairtrade Africa (FTA). It is a gathering of producers, traders, partner organizations, Fairtrade movement, government, policy makers among other stakeholders.

Source: ghananewsonline.com.gh



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