Enhancing Fairtrade for women workers on plantations: insights from Kenyan agriculture

Muhaimina Said-Allsopp, Anne Tallontire, 2014

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Practical Action Publishing

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Summary & key words

The growth in the market for Fairtrade certified agricultural exports from Africa has been rapid, promising empowerment for workers and communities through the Fairtrade Premium. Increasingly the Joint Bodies that administer the premium and the kinds of projects funded have been the subject of mounting criticism. Drawing from two empirical studies on Kenyan flowers and tea that explored pathways to empowerment for women workers on plantations, this paper compares and contrasts the practices of two standards mechanisms operating on the farms: the Joint Body (JB) and the Gender Committee (GC). This analysis finds that the GCs were more empowering for women workers than the JBs and draws out examples of good practice from the former that could help to improve practice in Fairtrade in plantation agriculture. The paper argues that appropriate training for members and non-members of committees alike, organizational and spatial structures, the nature of representation, and mechanisms for strengthening voice are of great importance in ensuring empowering outcomes for workers.


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