EDB and international fair trade networks sign cooperation framework
By: Staff Writer
January 22, Colombo (LNW): In a strategic move to promote international fair trade and foster global cooperation, Sri Lanka officially signed the Framework of Cooperation (FOC) with international fair trade networks in Colombo recently.
The signing ceremony, attended by representatives from major fair trade and supporting organisations, took place at the Colombo Ramada Hotel.
The primary objective of the cooperation framework is to strengthen and improve relationships between fair trade networks and related institutions in Sri Lanka.
It aims to promote the development, diversification, and wider market access of fair trade products from Sri Lanka to the global market.
The collaborative framework outlines multiple objectives and related activities that will be further developed into comprehensive action plans in collaboration with supporting institutions in the near future.
Representing Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Export Development Board Chairman and Chief Executive Dr. Kingsley Bernard, said that as the key signatory institution to this FOC, EDB will take the responsibility of implementing the activities agreed upon in the FOC together with support institutions.
He added that EDB plans to hold the initial meeting involving all relevant institutions during January to discuss future plans, an action plan and the scheduled activities for the year 2024.
Fair Trade International is a global network dedicated to promoting fairer distribution of trade benefits. This is achieved through the implementation of standards, certification processes, support programs for producers, and advocacy efforts.
Collaborating organisations such as the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Fair Trade Network of Asia & Pacific Producers (Fair Trade NAPP), Fair Trade NAPP-Sri Lanka (FNSL), and World Fair Trade Organization-Asia (WFTO-Asia) function as partners within global fair trade networks.
These fair trade standards aim to empower both farmer and worker communities by addressing power imbalances in trade relations, volatile markets, and inequities in conventional trade. By doing so, farmers can secure better prices for their goods.
Consequently, this approach contributes to increased foreign exchange income for the country and fosters the socio-economic development of farmers and workers in Sri Lanka.
More than 25 Small Scale Producer Organizations (SsPOs) have received Fair Trade certification, along with 20 wage labour plantations, collectively involving around 25,000 farmers and workers, nationwide.
Products such as tea, spices, fruits and vegetables, coconut-related items, floriculture, handicrafts, toys, and various hand-made products are currently presented to the global market with the Fair Trade and WFTO labels.
The signing of the cooperation framework with international fair trade networks signifies a noteworthy step forward in the ongoing initiatives to champion fair trade practices within Sri Lanka.