Verde Ventures (VV), working in close collaboration with Ten Senses Africa (TSA), has successfully supported the Fair Trade certification of the Kirinyaga East Macadamia Farmers Association (KEMFA) in Kenya, East Africa.
KEMFA’s 200 members are a major supplier of macadamia to TSA, Africa’s first (and only) Fair Trade-certified macadamia farmers association. This achievement represents a major step forward in building the capacity of over 5,000 farmers in a highly threatened ecosystem sitting adjacent to Mt Kenya National Park, a World Heritage site.
The Fair Trade certification provides the cooperative with many tangible benefits. A price floor of 75 Ksh (appx. $0.89) per kilogram has been set to ensure minimum, yet adequate revenues for the farmers. Furthermore, a “social premium” of an additional 5 Ksh/kg (appx. $0.06) will be paid to the cooperative in order to finance community benefit projects; the allocations of these funds are to be decided by the cooperative. Finally, protective contracts to regulate the volume of nuts, prices payment terms, and organizational support have been established to further ensure the prosperity of the families.
In addition to working capital, VV and TSA have been working closely with the organization to provide support in order to facilitate better practices with efficient procedures. The farmer's cooperative has been helped to organize themselves into 6 local groups, which together form the KEMFA association. The association is governed by a constitution, is registered with the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture (providing access to a range of support programs) and has a democratically elected board of directors and officers. Although the long term effects are yet to be observed, farmer income has already risen by about 20%; much of which has gone to secondary schooling, particularly for daughters.
For more information on Ten Senses Africa, please visit their website at www.tensenses.com.
Fair Trade International is a German based organization devoted to the proliferation of global equal-opportunity standards and more details on this body can be found at www.fairtrade.net.