A ground-breaking new $4.5 million partnership between the Australian Government and Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand (ANZ), announced in November, was a first for Fairtrade ANZ and will build support for Fairtrade products in Australia.

The partnership will also link smallholder producers in developing Indo-Pacific countries to international and regional markets.

‘Fairtrade for Aid in the Indo-Pacific’ was announced by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, at the Fairtrade Asia Indo-Pacific New Markets Forum in Melbourne. The four year commitment from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) will increase economic growth and trade from Indo-Pacific countries, alleviating poverty and benefiting some of its most disadvantaged citizens.

Molly Harriss Olson, CEO of Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand said: “Up to 70% of the staple foods in some developing countries come from poor small farmers, living on as little as $2.00 per day. 87% of the world’s small farms are in Asia and the Pacific. We have an enormous opportunity to improve people’s lives by alleviating poverty and creating more sustainable livelihoods in this part of the world.”

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International, in Australia for the Forum, welcomed the opportunity to escalate development in Indo-Pacific. “Fairtrade now has 1210 producer groups and more than 1.4 million producers in 74 countries. We link both ends of the supply chain dollars like a good old fashioned matchmaker, generating almost $7 billion in retail sales across the globe,’ Ms Lamb said.

“Because Fairtrade is on the ground with producers and in their communities we see the impacts of trade, and work to develop innovative responses to make trade just and equitable. When we get it right, trade can be a sure path to development because it is economically and socially sustainable.”