Aid for Trade: Is the EU helping small producers to trade their way out of poverty?

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) have issued a new publication entitled ‘Aid for Trade: Is the EU helping small producers to trade their way out of poverty?

Brussels, 10 September 2009

Aid for Trade needs to support growth that is pro-poor

To help reduce poverty, growth must be pro-poor. This means growth must benefit the poorest sections of society proportionally more than it benefits the better off. Aid for Trade should focus on developing local, national, and regional markets, first, rather than further enhancing export-oriented growth.

Supporting small producers is key

Small producers are an important part of local communities and can play a key role to significantly reduce poverty while contributing to sustainable development. Small producers experience numerous supply side constraints and there are many pro-poor policy measures and interventions that can help them overcome these difficulties. These range from support to developing and strengthening producer organisations, access to pre-financing and micro-financing, access to information to monitor changes in processing and consumer demands, to access to cost effective transport and improved technology.

A role of small producers in policy making is essential

Small producers need to be included in the bottom-up design of policies, projects and programmes to make sure that these are effective and pro-poor, meaning that they benefit the poorest proportionally more than they benefit the better off.

There is a lack of consistent focus on small producers by the European Commission

(EC) and key European Union Member States EC and EU Member States policy and communication documents on Aid for Trade recognise the importance of growth being pro-poor and of supporting small producers. Still, there is not always a consistent implementation of the focus on small producers across policies and projects. This is shown in the publication through an analysis of the past allocation of Aid for Trade funding, where it shows that only some few, small and sporadic commitments and projects are specifically targeted at small producers.

Read the new publication ‘Aid for Trade: Is the EU helping small producers to trade their way out of poverty?’

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice with the aim to improve trading conditions for the benefit of small and marginalised producers and poor workers in developing countries. Based in Brussels, the office coordinates the advocacy activities of the four main Fair Trade Networks: Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International FLO, World Fair Trade Organisation WFTO, Network of European Worldshops NEWS! and European Fair Trade Association EFTA. These four networks bring together over 1.5 million Fair Trade producers from more than 60 countries, 20 labelling initiatives, hundreds of specialized Fair Trade importers, 3000 worldshops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

The Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) grants financial support and advice to local organisations and networks promoting fair economic development.

Contact: Hilary Jeune. Policy Officer Fair Trade Advocacy Office. Village Partenaire – Bureau 9a Rue Fernand Bernierstraat 15 – 1060 Brussels (BE) Tel: +32 (0) 2 217 36 17. Email :

Download press relase as pdf version.

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