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Fair Trade Week 2016: representatives of a Peruvian Naturland co-operative on tour in Germany

FaireWoche2016Logo 350Organic agriculture and fair trade form a link between farmers all over the world. Certification to Naturland Fair standards combines both organic and fair trade under one logo. During this year’s Fair Trade Week (Faire Woche) from 16th to 30th September, the German nation-wide fair trade campaign, two Naturland farmers from Peru will be giving an account of how organic agriculture and fair trade have contributed to improving their living conditions as they make a tour round Germany.
In the course of their visits they are to meet a Naturland farmer from Bavaria who grows potatoes, just as they do in the Peruvian smallholders’ co-operative, Agropia. As disparate as their farming conditions of course are, in some aspects the German organic farmer nevertheless is faced with challenges certainly similar to those experienced by farmers in Peru.

It is the declared aim of Agropia, a smallholders’ co-operative certified to Naturland Fair standards since 2015, to make lasting improvements to the quality of life of its members and their families by cultivating traditional varieties of potato known as “papas nativas”. Up in the Peruvian Andes, known as the “cradle of the first potatoes”, at a height of 4,000 metres, the 75 smallholders of the Agropia co-operative cultivate virtually extinct varieties with such colourful names as Pumapamaquin (“puma’s paw”) and Sumac Soncco (“beautiful heart”). In doing so, they are making a contribution to the preservation of the unique diversity of varieties which are an element of Peru’s cultural heritage.

Naturland brings people together: Peruvian potato farmer meets Bavarian potato farmer
Thanks to funds earned in form of the fair-trade surcharge, this year for the first time they have also been able to manufacture crisps from their potatoes in their own factory. In this way a greater share of the added value stays with the producers. The Fair Trade Co-operative dwp eG which issued an invitation to Yanet Giovana Garay Flores, the general manager of Agropia, and Espirita Guerrero Romero, a smallholder, to visit Germany as its guests, is the distributor to the German fair-trade shops of crisps made from red and blue potatoes and certified to the Naturland Fair standards.
Marketing one’s own produce is also a topic close to the heart of Arthur Stein, a Naturland farmer in Röhrmoos in Upper Bavaria, whom the two Peruvians will be visiting on 26th September during the course of their tour of Germany. Stein sells some of his potatoes directly to the consumer but also some to food retailers. This is possible thanks to co-operation with other organic farmers in the region which enables them to provide the requisite quantities and to finance the necessary infrastructure.

Opening of the Faire Woche in Berlin: Naturland Fair in the North with the project “ei care”
The Faire Woche will officially be opened on 16th September in Berlin in the venue known as Markthalle IX in Kreuzberg by Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development. Here a representative of Green Net, Thailand, which is another smallholders’ co-operative certified to the Naturland standards, will be among the guests. As a representative of Naturland Fair in the north of Germany, Anne Reinsberg, a Naturland farmer from Brandenburg, will be presenting “ei care”, a project certified to the Naturland Fair standards.
The essential idea of “ei care” is the fair treatment of both humans and animals. This project, initiated by Naturland Marktgesellschaft and Terra Naturkost, an organic wholesaler in Berlin, offers an alternative to today’s poultry keeping methods which specialise either in turbo egg or turbo meat production. The creation of a fair-trade, local value added chain by partners in the “ei care” project, in contrast, enables the Naturland family-run farms round Berlin to keep hens and cocks of the strain “Les Bleues”, a dual-purpose breed, enabling them to supply both eggs and meat.

Linking local fair-trade players: fair-trade breakfast at Naturland in Gräfelfing
Think globally, act locally – that is one of the basic principles of fair trade, which also thrives on close interrelations between producers, the trade and consumers as well as among politicians and within civil society. This is what has motivated Naturland, an association pursuing international activities from its home territory in a suburb of Munich, to take the Faire Woche as an opportunity to put interested players from around Munich in contact with each other and give them a chance to exchange their opinions.
The setting for this occasion is an invitation to a fair-trade breakfast on 27th September in the head offices of Naturland e.V. in Gräfelfing. Among the participants will be the two representatives of the Naturland co-operative in Peru, Agropia, who will give a talk on how fair trade operations are improving their living conditions.
The organiser of the Faire Woche, of which this year’s slogan is “Fair trade is taking effect“, is Forum Fairer Handel, in co-operation with TransFair and the German National Association of Worldshops (Weltladen-Dachverband). Local groups and organisations are responsible for the planning and execution of some 2,000 to 2,500 activities. Naturland is a member of Forum Fairer Handel, which considers itself as the political representative of the fair trade movement in Germany.

At the following events you can learn more about Naturland Fair:

  • 16th September: central opening event of the Faire Woche, with Thomas Silberhorn, parliamentary state secretary, German Federal Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development, and Anne Reinsberg, a Naturland farmer representing the “ei care” project. Markthalle Neun, Eisenbahnstrasse 42/43, Berlin-Kreuzberg (11.30 a.m.)
  • 26th September: Naturland potato cultivation in Peru and Upper Bavaria: representatives of the Agropia co-operative meet German colleagues. Scharlhof, 85244 Röhrmoos (10.00 a.m.)
  • 27th September: Fair-trade breakfast under the motto “Organic and fair trade – room for improvement – at home and abroad!“, Naturland head office, Kleinhaderner Weg 1, 82166 Gräfelfing (by invitation only).