The Fairtrade Foundation gains key grants including support for Ghana cocoa farmers

The Fairtrade Foundation has won two out of eight grants launched today by the UK Government, including  an agricultural support scheme backed by Mondelēz International in Ghana assisting cocoa producers in developing countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

As the organisation explained, the funding has come from a new £6.85m Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility (VSCF), established by the Department of International Development (DFID) in partnership with the Department of International Trade. The project in Ghana will help to build longer-term resilience in core supply chains

A total of £2m of the aid included in the VSCF was contributed by UK businesses. Of this £2m, Fairtrade Foundation helped to raise over a third: its partner Mondelēz International contributed £640,000 for cocoa producers, while Co-op, M&S and Tesco offered £25,000 each (£75,000 in total) for flower producers.

The VSCF aims to help nearly a million people by ensuring vulnerable workers and suppliers overseas – and their families – are prepared for the economic and social shocks of Covid-19, and to help keep popular products like chocolate and flowers on high street shelves in the UK. Using this funding, the Fairtrade Foundation will work closely with its business partners to support some of the most vulnerable flower and cocoa producers in Kenya and Ghana, partnering with MM Flowers, Mondelēz International, Co-op, M&S, Tesco, Coventry University, FNET, Women Working Worldwide and Partner Africa.

Louisa Cox, director of Impact at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “We are excited that the Fairtrade Foundation has been awarded two out of the eight grants available: these will go a long way to helping some of those hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and who supply us with some of our favourite products. This demonstrates the strength of our projects and partnerships, and our innovative approach that involves working hand-in-hand with businesses to ensure resilient supply chains.

“It is significant that our commercial partners Mondelēz International, Co-op, M&S and Tesco have donated over £700,000 of the £2m matched funds given by businesses for the VSCF. This is a noteworthy, welcome contribution and one that highlights our partners’ commitment to helping farmers and workers hardest hit by the devastating impacts of Covid-19. We are encouraged by the UK governments’ approach to work closely with businesses and leverage private sector investment to solve these global issues.”

Partnering with Mondelēz International, the Fairtrade Foundation will implement the Cadbury Farmer Resilience Fund to support cocoa producers in Ghana and help them build resilience to the impacts of the pandemic. This is being assisted by a £500,000 grant from DFID, while Mondelēz International Cocoa Life programme has provided match funding worth £640,000.

Cathy Pieters, director of Cocoa Life at Mondelēz International, said: “With Cocoa Life, we invest in building a more resilient cocoa supply chain. Cocoa is the essence of our chocolate and vital to our business which is why, with our partners such as the Fairtrade Foundation, we work hand-in-hand with the men and women who make their living from cocoa, focusing on where we can make a lasting difference: turning cocoa into a business of choice, creating inclusive and empowered communities and educating on forest conservation and restoration.

“The pandemic has impacted the already vulnerable cocoa farming families and we are grateful that, as part of our partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation, we have been granted access to the Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility established by DFID as this allows us to help Ghanaian cocoa farmers diversify their sources of income and increase their resilience.”

This project will see cocoa unions able to apply for funding, via a flexible grant facility, so they can diversify their income, and secure their produce through the next harvest. This will include start-up capital to invest in food security and income diversification, as well as ensuring climate resilience for cocoa communities and strengthening the governance of cocoa unions.

Elsewhere, farmers will be supported to grow climate smart crops, to help them adapt to the changing weather patterns. A parallel project will see the roll-out of communication tools to help farmers stay safe in the current pandemic. The partnership will work with nine unions, including those from non-Fairtrade supply chains whose membership totals 22,499 farmers


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