Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) has announced the Fairtrade certification of Club 3000, a group of 629 cocoa farmers in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea.
These newly Fairtrade certified farmers are spread across 275km and six remote communities in the central coastline province, where reaching schools and aid posts takes half a day on foot and access to clean drinking water is a 30-minute trek through mountainous terrain.
Despite their challenges, Club 3000 farmers have a passion for growing cocoa. Thanks to its partnership with Monpi Cocoa Exports of Madang, which founded the group in 2011, the group is improving its quality and productivity, learning better business skills, and are now able to sell cocoa to the international Fairtrade market.
Fairtrade ANZ producer support officer Rachel Levine said Club 3000’s Fairtrade certification means the farmer group meets Fairtrade Standards for participation, transparency and environmental and social performance.
“With the support of Monpi Cocoa, Club 3000 farmers are working together to improve their livelihoods by strengthening their business skills and focusing on quality and productivity. Their efforts embody the values of Fairtrade, and it’s our great pleasure to welcome them into the Fairtrade system,” she said.
Club 3000 plans to produce 120 metric tonnes of Fairtrade Certified cocoa in 2014, which will generate US$24,000 [around AUD$26,000] in Fairtrade Premium to be used for economic, social and environmental development projects to benefit the farmers, their families and their communities.
Initial plans include restocking abandoned aid posts with medical supplies, and building and furnishing local elementary schools.