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Fairtrade Brings Communication Technology to Local Farmers

Fairtrade Brings Communication Technology to Local Farmers

Goroka, the centre of Papua New Guinea’s coffee industry, was recently the host of Fairtrade Australia New Zealand’s annual Pacific Stakeholder’s Workshop. This event brought together representatives from six Fairtrade certified coffee and cocoa producer organisations and their exporting partners. The focus of this year’s event was on the information and communication technology project “Linking Farmers in Papua New Guinea to Fairtrade Markets” and also included a training-the-trainers workshop on Fairtrade’s Producer Library for 35 local participants.

“Since 2011, the annual Pacific Stakeholders Workshop has been boosting producers’ skills in business and farm management and certification compliance as well as providing farmers, who are challenged by isolation, with a networking platform,” said Molly Harriss Olson, CEO Fairtrade Australia New Zealand.

The workshop attendees were trained on the use of Fairtrade’s Producer Library, which provides over 15 training tools covering Fairtrade Standards for environmental sustainability, child protection, good governance and business management.

Fairtrade Australia New Zealand’s project around access to information and communication technology (ICT) aims to help strengthen existing communications networks and provide an opportunity for producer organisations to trial the use of new technologies.

Featured technologies include: solar charging devices to provide safe and reliable access to power; an educational radio program to be broadcast on national radio throughout Papua New Guinea; and a partnership with Digicel to facilitate ease of communication and access to information for local farmers.

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Barnabas Dick, Manager of Fairtrade certified coffee producer group Keto Tapasi Progress Association in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, is thankful for the ongoing support and access to new technology provided by Fairtrade.

"These solar panels and computers will help our organisation and our communities to access the world outside of Papua New Guinea,” said Barnabas Dick.

In partnership with local trainers and service providers, Fairtrade Australia New Zealand is working to support farmers to capitalise on their use of technology to better perform tasks such as price negotiation, logistics and planning, as well as identifying market opportunities and accessing information.

The final event of the Fairtrade Pacific Stakeholders Workshop will be held in Fiji this October and will bring together producers and partners from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

This year’s event in Papua New Guinea was supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).


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