Archive for the ‘Fairtrade’ Category

Raging california wildfire!

Raging California wildfire do not stop agricultural work!

 

A group of farm laborers who chose to seek shelter from the suffocating smoke of a California wildfire last week were terminated for taking a break.

At least 15 workers at Crisalida Farms in Oxnard, California, found themselves struggling to breathe last week as the Camarillo Springs wildfire blackened the sky with smoke and ash. The blaze damaged more than a dozen houses, threatened 4,000 homes, and burned a store of highly toxic pesticides that caught fire at an agricultural property.

Located just 11 miles south of the fire, workers at the Southern California strawberry farm had a difficult time breathing as they laboriously worked in the fields. Their boss had warned them that taking a break would compromise their jobs, and they were faced with a dilemma.

“The ashes were falling on top of us,” one of the workers told NBC LA. “[But] they told us if we leave, there would be no job to return to.”

On the evening of May 2, the Camarillo fire had reached about 10,000 acres and was only 10 percent contained. About 11,500 people had been evacuated at this point as hazmat teams warned locals not to inhale the smoke – especially since it contained toxic chemicals from the pesticides that had caught on fire.

 

Read on …

 

Global farmer-assistance program extends help to grapegrowers in Argentina, Chile and South Africa

When a small grapegrower in Argentina’s Luján de Cuyo district needed a kidney operation, his fellow farmers dipped into a shared fund to help pay for it. When another grower’s donkey died, the fund was tapped to buy him a new one. These 19 farmers, some of whom own as little as 3 acres, also invested in their vineyards, replaced roofs on their homes and provided supplies for the local school.

At a time when so many of their fellow small growers in Mendoza have been squeezed out, how did the landowners and vineyard workers, part of a group called Viña de la Solidaridad, manage all that? Viña de la Solidaridad had earned an extra $40,000 for these projects by participating in a fair-trade program, intended to fight poverty in developing nations, keep families on small farms and empower workers. Working with Bodega Furlotti, the growers earn a premium above-market price by supplying grapes for fair-trade wine lines, including Neu Direction Malbec, which was picked up by retail giant Sam’s Club.

“There was a real need from these communities for additional revenue to help improve their situation,” said Dave Leenay, executive vice president for sales for Prestige Wine Group, the U.S. importer instrumental in developing Neu Direction, along with Wandering Grape Merlot-Malbec, carried by Target. “And there was a need from the big corporations to talk about their commitment to helping be more sustainable and improving people’s lives.”

Best known for coffee, as well as bananas, tea and cocoa, the fair-trade movement is taking hold in the U.S. wine market, with a tiny but growing presence among imports from Argentina, Chile and South Africa. Purchases by large companies such as Whole Foods Market, Wal-Mart and American Airlines have helped give the category momentum.

 

Read on …

Sue Birch.

Sue Birch.

 

Record export figures in 2012 have prompted optimistic reports from South Africa after years of concern over the country’s rising balance of bulk wine shipments.

As Wines of South Africa confirmed exports of 417 million litres in 2012, beating the previous record of 407m litres in 2008 and representing a 17% increase on 2011, the organisation’s CEO Su Birch outlined the reasons for this strong performance.

“The record levels are the result of a more favourable currency, as well as the global shortage of wines, stemming from a significant drop in the recent harvests of competitor wine-producing nations in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand,” she explained.

As South Africa’s producers prepare for the 2013 harvest, Birch suggested a cautiously positive outlook, noting: “At this stage, all indications are that this year’s local crop could be the third biggest in recorded history.
Read on …

Also read:

De+Doorns+Jan+10+2013

Protest action on farms during the heart of the picking season will severely hurt the sustainability of farms and could result in job losses, the farmers’ union federation Asuf said on Friday.


The Agri-sector Unity Forum said that ongoing labour unrest in the Western Cape’s fruit producing regions will impact negatively on production, the ability to serve local and international markets and the viability of farms.

“The knock-on effects of higher food prices and retrenchment of workers will follow as enterprises are forced to either or close down,” said Asuf in a statement.

The umbrella body, who represents all major agricultural unions, said the mechanisation or venture into less labour intensive industries would inevitably lead to greater unemployment.

Read on …

Also read:

Enotria has signed a deal with South African producer The Company of Wine People, which will see the UK supplier take on distribution of Arniston Bay, along with a portfolio of other wine brands.

 

Arniston Bay Wines.

Arniston Bay Wines.

 

With 80% of its wine sold abroad, The Company of Wine People claims to be South Africa’s fifth largest packaged wine exporter.

Effective from February 2013, the deal with Enotria includes Arniston Bay, one of the UK’s biggest wine brands, as well as Kumkani, which was restructured at the start of 2012 to give joint ownership to winemaker Allison S Adams-Witbooi as part of South Africa’s black ownership scheme.

The two other brands are traditional Stellenbosch producer Welmoed and the less conventional Versus brand.

Read on …