Fairtrade Africa discusses the role of sustainability at ARSO 28th General Assembly
Fairtrade Africa participated in the 28th ARSO General Assembly organized from 27th June, -1st July, 2022 at the Hilton Hotel in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The GA brought together ARSO members, who are national standards bodies across the continent, and partners of ARSO to discuss key issues on standardization within Africa.
There were four panel discussion including impact of harmonized African standards in promoting the pharmaceuticals industry’s growth, using standards to underpin the value addition and access to market to agriculture for agriculture and food product, implementing harmonized standards to spur the development of the Africa automobile industry and the role of sustainability standards and eco-certification in promoting sustainable development and trade.
Fairtrade Africa was invited to participate in one of the panel sessions to discuss ‘the role of sustainability standards and eco-certification to promoting sustainable development and trade’. FTA was represented by Abubakar Afful, Programme Team Leader of Cocoa in Ghana, who used the occasion to share benefits of sustainability schemes such as Fairtrade to producers and its contribution to development.
During the panel discussion, the Team Leader highlighted the importance of producer support service in helping producer organizations in complying with the FT standards. He also shared lessons around the approach of FT standards setting where producers and actors are well involved before the standards are approved which make it more participatory for the producers. He also focused on the benefits of certification including the premium, minimum price, support to communities, protection to the environment, stronger organisations etc. The Team leader also highlighted the importance of transparency and managing the expectation of producers before they get certified. He used the opportunity to explain the FT approach in channelling premiums to producers in a transparent manner directly from the buyer to the producer. This was in a response to a question to a participant from the CCC of CDI.
In summary, he highlighted the following as the key in supporting producers to remaining compliant to sustainability standards:
- Involvement of Producers in standards to increase their ownership, understanding and easy implementation
- Ensuring transparency in the system
- Access to training, one-on-one coaching and mentoring, strategic support, thematic support etc. to support POs to implement the standards
- Access to market to generate revenue to implement the standards, improve livelihood and developmental projects
- Access to donor funds to implement projects around key thematic areas
There were other panel members the Secretary General of ISO and the Senior Director and Head of ZED Quality standards of India. The Team Leader in his concluding remarks reiterated that sustainability has come to stay and called all on stakeholders to support the producers to be able to comply. The session was moderated by the Secretary General of ARSO, Dr. Hermogen Nsengemana.