The idea had been in the air for a while. The “Small Producers Symbol” was officially launched in Honduras in November 2010, during the 4th General Assembly of CLAC (the Latin American and Caribbean Coordination of Small Fair Trade Producers).
As the National Coordination of Fair Trade in Peru (CNCJ) states, this initiative was born in response to Fairtrade International, which no longer reserves its Fairtrade label exclusively to small producers: “FLO, the international organization certifying fair trade in the world, has allowed the entry of large commercial players, to the detriment of small producers”.
Values and principles
The principles and values of the label promote participatory democratic organization, respect for the environment and economic justice. Values that do not necessarily prevail in today’s global marketplace.
Basic criteria for small producers
The label has a complete overview of criteria relating to production, organizational aspect, management, respect for the environment, management of relations between producer organizations and buyers, etc.
Here are a few examples:
- Small producer organisations must be democratic, transparent and environmentally friendly.
- Size criteria have been established: maximum 15 ha for agricultural producers, 15 hives per beekeeper.
- The costs of sustainable production must be covered and producers must be recognized for work that enables their families to live with dignity and respect for the environment.
– A guaranteed minimum price
– equal to a development bonus
– a premium in case of organic production.
- The means of production used by producers may not be in the hands of buyers.
- Local economies are encouraged and efforts are made to generate added value for producers and their communities.
For Arnaud Deharte, of the Uniterra volunteer program, “it is interesting to note that these criteria have been established by the representatives of small producer organizations themselves. They founded the organization FUNDEPPO (the Foundation of Small Organized Producers), now based in Mexico City, to ensure that the symbol really benefits small producers, their communities and consumers. »
The scope of the label
This label is currently open to small producer organizations in all Latin American and Caribbean countries. It has recently been extended to small producers in Africa and Asia.
It can be used by certified organizations and registered buyers based in approved countries. For the time being:
- different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean
- developing countries in Africa and Asia
- the European Union, Switzerland, Canada, the United States.
If producer organizations and buyers are located in a not yet approved country, nothing prevents them from applying to FUNDEPPO.
The logo applies to agricultural, beekeeping and artisanal products. For other products the approval of FUNDEPPO is required.
The cost of certification (for a producer organization) or registration (for a buyer)
For small producer organizations
For example, in the case of a quick procedure, an organization with 250 to 500 producers will pay 350 dollars.
The quick procedure consists of a documentary review, and the full procedure of a documentary review linked to a field review. To determine which of the two procedures applies, FUNDEPPO uses its risk analysis procedures.
The cost of the complete procedure depends on the number of days required (at USD 120/day), especially for field assessments.
In addition, again for up to 500 producers, there is an annual registration fee of USD 375, which also allows membership of CLAC without any additional costs being charged.
Buyers must pay a fee for the registration and use of the label.
The fee for accelerated registration is 500 USD. In the case of a full procedure it is, as for producers, 120 USD/day.
The fee for using the label is 1% of the total value of the products sold under the label. Payments are made on a quarterly basis.
Users must report to FUNDEPPO every quarter indicating the volume and value of sales (for organizations) and purchases (for buyers) of products bearing the “Small Producer Symbol”.
For further certification or registration, annual assessments are required. In some cases, a follow-up evaluation is planned to verify that all non-conformity issues identified during the initial evaluation have been resolved.