SL Commits to Fair Trade Collaboration: EDB & International Fair Trade Networks Sign a Cooperation Framework

In a Strategic move to promote International Fair Trade and foster global cooperation, Sri Lanka officially signed the Framework of Cooperation (FOC) with international fair trade networks in Colombo recently. The signing ceremony, attended by representatives from major fair trade and supporting organizations, took place at the Colombo Ramada Hotel.

The primary objective of the cooperation framework is to strengthen and improve relationships between fair trade networks and related institutions in Sri Lanka. It aims to promote the development, diversification, and wider market access of fair trade products from Sri Lanka to the global market. The collaborative framework outlines multiple objectives and related activities that will be further developed into comprehensive action plans in collaboration with supporting institutions in the near future.

Representing Sri Lanka Chairman and Chief Executive of Sri Lanka Export Development Board Dr. Kingsley Bernard, Fair Trade Network of Asia and Pacific Producers of Sri Lanka Chairman R. Gnanasekaran, and on behalf of the President World Fair Trade Organization /Asia, Country representative T. Fernando signed the Framework of Cooperation.

In addition, Ms. Thavishya Mullegamgoda, Minister (Commercial) of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Brussels, Ms. Virginia Ensell, Manager of International & Corporate Relations, Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Brussels, Sanjeet Khurana, Executive Director of the  Fair Trade Network of Asia and Pacific Producers, Ms. Mitos Urgel, Board President, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and the officials of Supporting organizations namely Department of Commerce, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Department of Export Agriculture, Coconut Development Authority, Department of Agriculture, Industrial Development Board, National Craft Council and other relevant agencies were present physically and online.

EDB Chairman and Chief Executive Dr. Kingsley Barnard said that as the key signatory institution to this FOC, EDB will take the responsibility of implementing the activities agreed upon in the FOC together with support institutions.  He added that EDB plans to hold the initial meeting involving all relevant institutions during January to discuss future plans, an Action Plan and the scheduled activities for the year 2024.

Fair Trade International is a global network dedicated to promoting fairer distribution of trade benefits. This is achieved through the implementation of standards, certification processes, support programs for producers, and advocacy efforts. Collaborating organizations such as the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Fair Trade Network of Asia & Pacific Producers (Fair Trade NAPP), Fair Trade NAPP-Sri Lanka (FNSL), and World Fair Trade Organization-Asia (WFTO-Asia) function as partners within global fair trade networks.

These fair trade standards aim to empower both farmer and worker communities by addressing power imbalances in trade relations, volatile markets, and inequities in conventional trade. By doing so, farmers can secure better prices for their goods. Consequently, this approach contributes to increased foreign exchange income for the country and fosters the socio-economic development of farmers and workers in Sri Lanka.

More than 25 Small Scale Producer Organizations (SsPOs) have received Fair Trade certification, along with 20 wage labor plantations, collectively involving around 25,000 farmers and workers, nationwide. Products such as tea, spices, fruits and vegetables, coconut-related items, floriculture, handicrafts, toys, and various hand-made products are currently presented to the global market with the Fair trade and WFTO labels.

The signing of the Cooperation Framework with International Fair Trade Networks signifies a noteworthy step forward in the ongoing initiatives to champion fair trade practices within Sri Lanka.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x