Pictured above: Vi Cottrell (Trade Aid co-founder) with Mrs Pemba, Tibetan carpet weaver.

Partnership is the key to Trade Aid’s work

"We have not had any clients like you before, who have even shared with us their trading results (whether good or bad) much less one who is willing to share any profits with their suppliers!" CENFROCAFE co-operative, Peru.

We have always seen fair trade as being the tool by which the lives of artisans and small farmers could be transformed - not just economically, but socially and politically as well. Crucial to this change is the partnership between Trade Aid and the organisations that represent the producers and farmers.
It is this relationship that defines our brand of fair trade, going far beyond the purchase of goods under fair conditions. Our partnerships include the following key aspects:

Mutual respect and good communication – the artisans who make our handcrafts, and the farmers who grow the crops we import, have skills and understanding of their environment, as well as their own aspirations for their families and their organisations. Trade Aid’s role is to offer markets and support to make their aspirations become reality, and to enable them to work in the ways that are most appropriate for them. We aim for open communication as partners, within which we can discuss the best way to serve the interests of the producers.

A long-term commitment - partnership is not about profit – it is about the people we work with; and our commitment to them requires us to place regular and consistent orders to the best of our ability so that partners can plan for the future. While this is easy in good times, the test comes when external forces, economic, climatic, or changes in consumer demand for certain products impact on the trading relationship.

Support to improve efficiency and productivity – feedback to partners about market trends and assistance in developing new and saleable products is an important aspect of our work. It can also be vital to the development of smaller groups, or those with a limited range of products to offer.

Using NZAID capacity building funds, Trade Aid has been able to assist partners to increase their skills, or strengthen their infrastructure to become stronger and more sustainable businesses. Recent activities have included training in production techniques; product development; language and computer skills; purchase of tools and equipment for production or to increase workplace efficiency; marketing; wet coffee processing mills and education on the application of Fair Trade principles.

"After installing the cardommon dryer, the farmers of this group start to dry their raw cardamon two time(s) per month. They can dry their cardomom in good quality now and their income also grows up to three times more. Therefore they start to cultivate more lands to increase their income." PODIE capacity building fund report.

Prepayments for orders – up to 80% of the cost of products is available to partners when an order is placed, to cover purchase of raw materials and prompt payment for producers, which reduces the need for borrowing from money lenders at high rates of interest.