My meeting with the Ivorian Fair Trade network
Aug 7, 2020 —
It’s been a couple of weeks since I was in touch with you all, but I want to give you a quick update on what has happened over the last two weeks.
Nestle did eventually come back to me with the further detail that they promised me at our meeting. Unfortunately, this didn’t really tell me much that was new. They did, however, give me a more detailed breakdown of the $180 figure that they have been publicly calling ‘the Rainforest Alliance Premium’. They told me that:
o 60 USD will go directly to the farmer as cash
o 60 USD will go to the co-operative
o 60 USD is for aspects of the sustainability programme, such as farmer training, gender awareness, shade trees etc.
Nestle also claimed that this “premium” will give power to farmers to decide how their money is spent and that will not change.
Following this update from Nestle, I spoke to the Ivorian Fair Trade network (RICE), who sent the original open letter to Nestle (you can read their letter here). I wanted to share with them what Nestle have told me about these extra payments and get their thoughts as a representative body for Fair Trade farmers in Cote d’Ivoire. This breakdown was also new information to them, and they remain concerned about the lack of real democratic ownership of this money for farmers, long-term financial security or collective consultation with farmers' representatives in making decisions that will have such an impact on them.
I still do not believe that this new amount is comparable to the Fairtrade Premium. As well as being lower, it doesn’t give the same control to farmers. All of the $240 Fairtrade Premium is given directly to farmers to spend how they choose through a democratic and representative Premium Committee. How the co-operative will share the $60 which goes to co-operatives under Nestlé’s new scheme is still not clear, and the final $60 being provided in-kind with training or services by Nestlé or their cocoa buyers seems to take more power away from them.
I hope to hear from RICE again soon and will be in touch as soon as I have - until then, it is important that we continue to let Nestle know that the farmers at the heart of their business still do not understand the changes that they are planning, so please keep sharing the petition and encouraging others to show their solidarity with farmers by signing.
Thanks again for all your support,
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