The ‘Association for Fairness in Trade’ (AFIT) fights for the empowerment of small-scale farmers and farm workers in global fair trade, in South Africa. The association aims at informing farmers about their rights vis-à-vis importers from the global north. Their work is funded by the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation since May 2017.
The non-profit organization AFIT was founded in 2005 by farmworkers within the fair trade system. The organization is based in Cape Town but acts nationwide. The organization understands itself as an independent body that works for the improved representation of small-scale farmers and farm workers in fair trade. Despite representing the biggest share of producers, in negotiations about prices and working conditions they are often put at a disadvantage. Fair Trade acts within power structures characterized by a colonial past and uneven distribution of resources and privileges, in which the producers stand in dependency to few importers.

For more fairness in the agricultural sector

AFIT’s objective is to push small-scale farmers out of their isolation in decision-making processes by informing them of their rights. The organization creates contact points between different stakeholders in the fair trade system. Thereby initiating mutual learning processes through the exchange of knowledge and experiences. Inspiring them to stand up for their own rights.

One of its main goals is to build up capacities and awareness for the creation of an equitable agriculture sector. AFIT publishes a regular newsletter in English and Afrikaans. It organizes informative forum theatres at the cooperatives to reach out to those with low literacy levels and once a year the association organizes a spring school.

A spring school to empower small-scale farmers

The five day training enables the participants to network and engage intensively with issues around fair trade. Daniel Abraham, who participated in the 2017 course says:
‘I feel empowered with new discovered knowledge, I am now in a position to empower others such as my colleagues and friends. We were oppressed for so many years that we often do not realize the power that lies within as well as our Rights as workers to give our dignity back.’
Through the financial support of the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation salaries and activities are financed. In addition the foundation has committed itself to help AFIT with the diversification of its funds.

AFIT builds bridges between different agents, it is a network with the aim to strengthen the position of small-scale farmers and seeks to contribute to a solidary global economy.