Supporting Fairtrade

The majority of Indonesians live in poverty; but with Oxfam's support, Forum Fair Trade Indonesia is helping local producers compete fairly in the economy and improve their livelihoods.

The majority of Indonesians live in poverty because of an unjust economic system. With its goal of alleviating poverty, Fairtrade is still an unfamiliar concept in Indonesian society, but Forum Fair Trade Indonesia (FFTI) aims to promote the movement to local consumers and the government. Without the understanding and support of the local community, Fairtrade will not grow. With the support of Oxfam New Zealand, FFTI hopes to strengthen Fairtrade activities in Indonesia and improve market access for local producers so they can compete fairly in the economy.

Forum Fair Trade Indonesia has the authority to run the Fairtrade process in Indonesia and to establish strong links with the rest of Asia and the Fairtrade global body. The organisation is working to demonstrate to Indonesian society and policy-makers that it can provide a valuable alternative to unethical trade practices.

The group set up a Fair Trade outlet where all FFTI members’ local products are displayed so that consumers can learn more and understand the benefits of Fairtrade to them and their country. Customers are not only buying products, but are also giving feedback on the development of the outlet.

As FFTI develops further, the organisation aims to implement a public education strategy to promote Fairtrade and introduce Fairtrade producers and their products to the Indonesian public. They aim to develop educational materials in English and Bahasa Indonesian to promote Fairtrade principles and benefits. They also aim to produce a brochure and a newsletter for the public, along with a ‘comic book' that might better appeal to people put off by other reading materials. The are also looking to establish a Fairtrade Information Centre with a library accessible to the public.

Mitra Bali: supporting artisans through Fairtrade

Forum Fair Trade Indonesia helps local craft producers market their work, with outlet shops proving a successful way to engage the public.

Communities in Bali are starting to see the benefits of the Fairtrade system. Mitra Bali, a member of FFTI, is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation assisting local craft producers to develop a Fairtrade model for their industry. The organisation is working to improve local working conditions and help handicraft producers market, sell and export the products they create for tourists. The growth of tourism and sales of these handicrafts has led to an increasing number of work opportunities for locals.

However, craft producers see only a very small benefit of this industry. It is the owners of the tourist shops who profit, with the hard work of the artisans going unrewarded. According to Mitra Bali, ‘craft producers rarely receive a fair deposit before starting their work, and they seldom know to whom or to which country their products have been sold or traded, or at what price’. The middlemen are becoming more prosperous while the poor craft producers stay poor.

With the help of the Fairtrade model supported by FFTI, craft producers receive 50 per cent of the total payment up front and are promptly paid a percentage of the suitable and fair sale price, which is agreed with the craft producers. Mitra Bali also has regular free training workshops to help producers develop their businesses.