To ensure producers can compete on a level playing field, Fairtrade Africa organises the Africa Fairtrade Convention (AFC), a multi-day event where producers and other stakeholders can learn, share experiences, and strengthen networks.
Africa Fairtrade Convention 2012
Equal trade, equal development – Strengthening African producers' role in the value chain
Although alternative agro-food systems like Fairtrade draw consumers and producers closer together, the connection between the farmer or worker in the African field and the consumer in a supermarket is still complex, with multiple actors – transporters, ex- and importers, processors, buyers… – involved.
African producers receive the lowest earnings in the whole chain.To strengthen their position, farmers and workers need to overcome major constraints like lack of access to decent public infrastructure, financial resources and up-to-date market prices. Improving their position in the value chain will enhance their bargaining power which will lead to an increase in salaries and productivity, overall improving their livelihoods. Producer empowerment in the value chain will also positively affect food security and help African countries reach the Millennium Development Goals.
Topics which will be discussed during the Africa Fairtrade Convention 2012 include:
- Who controls the value chain?
- What is the role of cooperatives? What can they learn from hired labour – and vice versa?
- How can producers increase their access to finance to improve their participation in the value chain?
- What tools are available through which producers can strengthen their position? What partnerships should they engage in?
- And how can Fairtrade further contribute to ensure producer voices are heard by the other actors in the value chain?
After editions in Zimbabwe (2010) and Ghana (2011), the third AFC will be hosted in Eastern Africa. The rotational nature of the event ensures total participation of producers across the continent. Due to Ethiopia's large agricultural population, its rapid economic growth rate and its significance in several Fairtrade supply chains, Addis Ababa was selected as the conference city of this year's edition.
Partnering with CTA
Fairtrade Africa is collaborating with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to enable you to participate in the 'Making the Connection' conference on the same visit to Addis Ababa. 'Making the connection', which also focuses on the role of smallholders in the value chain, will take place immediately after the AFC. Outcomes of the AFC will feed into 'Making the Connection', giving producers a greater and coordinated voice. A CTA-representative will also attend the AFC and present the expectations of their conferenceto AFC participants.
For more info on the event: www.makingtheconnection.cta.int
About the Africa Fairtrade Convention
Fairtrade Africa’s annual Africa Fairtrade Convention brings together African small-scale farmers, workers and other stakeholders from across the continent and beyond to improve the livelihoods of producers in Africa. During the multi-day event producers and stakeholders discuss how trade conditions, market access and producer support can be improved; in the meantime strengthening their networks, building relationships and sowing the seeds of new partnerships.
AFC activities include:
- The Africa Fairtrade Forum: producers, experts, private sector institutions and stakeholders present their views on topics such as climate change; access to agricultural research and best practice; financing opportunities; improving market access for producers;… Short presentations led by experts are followed by parallel and breakout sessions.
- The Fairtrade and Organic Expo: producer organisations, traders, partners, service providers, Fairtrade Labeling Initiatives and other stakeholders present their organisations at the expo.
- Field trips: visits to Fairtrade producer organisations offer first-hand experience on issues facing farmers, providing the right context for forum discussion.
- Business meetings: one-on-one meetings can be set up between participants who want to do business
To get a better flavour, watch a short video of last year’s event here.
The AFC puts African farmers and workers at the center of the debate. Other participants from across Africa and beyond include international traders, industry professionals, NGOs and Fairtrade partners.
In 2011, 270 participants attended the event:
About the organiser
The Africa Fairtrade Convention is organised by Fairtrade Africa. Fairtrade is an international movement that works to protect and support small-scale farmers and workers in the South. Our mission is to connect disadvantaged producers with consumers and promote trade justice.