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Fairtrade farmers call on Nestle to continue their commitment

FAIRTRADE FARMERS CALL ON NESTLE TO CONTINUE THEIR COMMITMENT

After a decade of sourcing cocoa and sugar from smallholder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji and Malawi, Nestlé has announced that, from October, its KitKat bars in the UK and Ireland will no longer be Fairtrade certified.

This decision means that co-operatives already dealing with the effects of working and travel restrictions due to Covid-19 are to lose just under £2m in Fairtrade Premium, and their 27,000 member farmers will lose – what will be for some – their only source of income.

Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation said: '”We urge Nestlé: listen to farmers; do not choose this moment of global crisis to exacerbate the inequalities in the cocoa industry. Be part of the solution and keep KitKat Fairtrade”

A further statement on the Fairtrade Foundation website says: “Nestlé and Fairtrade have made a much-needed difference to farmers' lives in the last 10 years. Cocoa co-operatives have benefitted from the safety net of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the Premium has meant communities have been able to invest in classrooms, dispensaries, canteens, and programmes to help women increase and diversify their income. 

“Because producers can choose themselves how to spend the Fairtrade Premium, they have been able to act quickly during the Covid-19 crisis to protect their health, support their communities and compensate for disruption to income.”

Atse Ossey Francis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ivorian Fair Trade Network, said: 'It is with deep regret and deep concern that we have learned that after proudly producing cocoa for KitKat in the UK for a decade, small cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire will no longer enjoy the benefits of selling their cocoa on Fairtrade terms. Nestlé is one of the leading buyers of Fairtrade certified cocoa through its KitKat brand and we are grateful for all this decade of partnership where we have contributed to the success of Nestlé. A non-Fairtrade trade relationship means regression and continued poverty.

“We call on Nestlé to maintain its commitment to us Fairtrade producers by considering the devastating effects of the current Covid-19 crisis.  We ask Nestlé to continue the incredible work that has been done over the past 10 years so as not to cut the lifeline of the Fairtrade Premium at a time when we producers need it most.”

You can read the full open letter from the Ivorian Fair Trade Network (RICE) here, and for more information on the impact on farmers, please see the full Fairtrade Foundation statement here.