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More organic in the global South


Rapunzel and their fair-trade partners work out future strategies in the HAND IN HAND workshop
Three generations of the Wilhelm family welcome the HAND IN HAND partners and introduce the program for the evening.
Three generations of the Wilhelm family welcome the HAND IN HAND partners and introduce the program for the evening.
Three generations of the Wilhelm family welcome the HAND IN HAND partners and introduce the program for the evening.
[03/19]  Every year in February the contemplative village of Legau plays host for guests from around the world. That's when Rapunzel's fair-trade partners from the HAND IN HAND program meet for their annual workshop. In 2019, 25 representatives from 13 HAND IN HAND partners from 13 different countries travelled to Rapunzel headquarters in order to discuss current issues. In which situations could HAND IN HAND suppliers ask Rapunzel for practical support? In which areas can Rapunzel and the fair-trade partners still intensify their collaboration in order to improve the positive effects for the producers? 

Long-term trade relations drive development
An important point of discussion was the question what the actual effects of fair trade are. Which factors restrict possible positive effects? How can positive effects be further enhanced and/or supported? The discussion showed that indirect local, social and ecological conditions play the decisive roles in the countries of origin, much more than the financial fair trade bonuses that are paid to the producers. The fair-trade partners appreciate especially the long-term stability that result from fair trade relations and the development opportunities that are associated with such a stable, long-term relationship. 

A limiting factor in some fair-trade programs are requirements that are not adapted to the local life of the people - and that are therefore difficult to implement for the fair-trade partners. However, Rapunzel's fair-trade partners agree: the HAND IN HAND program is exemplary also in this respect. 

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More organic through "participative guarantee systems"


The prerequisite for a supplier to become a HAND IN HAND partner is an organic certification. This is the imperative basic requirement - but at the same time, this requirement is often difficult to implement for suppliers from countries of the global South. And how can a supplier handle those products that he cannot sell to Rapunzel as HAND IN HAND products (or as other organic and fair merchandise to other foreign buyers), but that he produces for the local market or for home consumption? A "conventional" organic certification for local markets is often simply too expensive. How can the producer nevertheless guarantee the quality of these products?

 
A possible solution for this problem could be so-called "participative guarantee systems". The idea behind this rather technical term is to include local stakeholders from the countries of origin into the gurantee process. Universities, NGOs or other growers and producers could secure and guarantee certain (organic) qualities of a particular farmer. This way, the stakeholders would open up a way to further propagate and support "de facto organic" and to protect local markets against agrochemicals. The advantages for the people and the ecosystem of the respective country are obvious - and at the same time the risk of contamination for organic export products could be reduced.       

Strong women: Samia Chibani (center), HAND IN HAND supplier of dates, and Sitti Chiabiddine (left), HAND IN HAND supplier of Bourbon vanilla
Strong women: Samia Chibani (center), HAND IN HAND supplier of dates, and Sitti Chiabiddine (left), HAND IN HAND supplier of Bourbon vanilla
Strong women: Samia Chibani (center), HAND IN HAND supplier of dates, and Sitti Chiabiddine (left), HAND IN HAND supplier of Bourbon vanilla

Important exchange in a laid back atmosphere 


Two intense days at Rapunzel: the meeting in Legau is a valuable platform for all HAND IN HAND partners and the organic food producer Rapunzel. Although the suppliers went after the workshop in Legau to visit the Biofach in Nuremberg - the world's largest organic trade show -  the benefits of the HAND IN HAND workshop were evident for all partners.

Because at the workshop, the suppliers and Rapunzel exchanged their views across the continents in a relaxed atmosphere - despite similar structures with respect to supplier organizations. As an example in case, HAND IN HAND cashew supplier Achal from India has to often face similar challenges like CCF, HAND IN HAND supplier for dates from Tunisia with respect to work organization in the processing steps. Moreover, certain climatic changes affect organic coffee producers in Peru in the same way as they affect organic cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic.    
Mrs. Samia Chibani from Tunisia confirms: „If I want to have a concrete, helpful exchange with other supplier organizations, the HAND IN HAND workshop is perfect for me. It's even better than the Biofach." 
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