ARSO Signs MoU with Fair Trade Africa

3rd February 2021, Nairobi, Kenya, Fair Trade Africa Office

ARSO and the Commerce Equitable Afrique, trading as Fair-Trade Africa (FTA), and Headquartered in Nairobi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 3rd February 2021, with the main objective to establish a framework within which to jointly explore and coordinate such undertakings to build strong and resilient producer Organisations and work cooperatively towards increasing sustainable and ethical production and consumption across Africa. The focus is to facilitate intra-African Trade and global trade through providing and facilitating the implementation of harmonised standards and improving livelihoods of small holder farmers and workers in the plantations. The two Parties have undertaken to promote and advance the use of standards and support sustainable agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, aquaculture, food security and socially inclusive busines and community development.

Fairtrade Africa was established in 2005 and is the independent non-profit umbrella organisation representing all Fairtrade certified producers in Africa. Fairtrade Africa is owned by its members, who are African producer organisations certified against international Fairtrade standards producing traditional export commodities such as coffee, cocoa, tea, cotton, bananas, mango and non-traditional commodities including shea butter and rooibos tea. Currently, the organisation supports over 500 producer organisations and represents over one million small holder farmers and workers across 32 countries in Africa, ensuring they get better prices, decent working conditions and fairer terms of trade.’

The two Organisations both run Eco labelling programmes and having benchmarked the Eco labels in 2018.

ARSO through the ARSO Conformity Assessment Procedure (ACAP) has developed rules and procedures for its Certification operations in nine schemes that include sustainability and eco-labelling that awards the Eco mark label to products and services complying with requirements to the African sustainability standards.

Launched on 8th March 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya Eco Mark Africa is a programme in ARSO that promotes the EMA Ecolabel in Africa for sustainably produced goods and services in the Agriculture, Aquiculture, Fisheries, forestry and tourism sectors. It also builds capacity of Auditors, certification bodies, laboratories and producers of goods and services in the above sectors. The programme integrates, the concepts of environmental, social and economic sustainability and is a useful tool for promoting sustainable production and consumption of goods and services as well as addressing various sustainable development goals, including the mitigating the climate action in Africa, while ensuring the production of eco-friendly African products for better regional and global market access. The certification is based on the ARSO Sustainability and Ecolabelling standards: ARS/AES 01 – 2014: Agriculture, for the sustainable production, processing and trading of agricultural products; ARS/AES 02- 2014: Fisheries – for the sustainable harvesting of fish as well as addressing the Ecosystem issues; ARS/AES 03 – 2014: Forestry- for sustainable management of forests; ARS/AES 04 – 2014: Tourism- for sustainable management of tourism, while promoting Eco Tourism and environmental conservation. This in addition to the ARS/AES 1:2014 – Aquaculture and ARS/AES 1:2014 Tilapia.