Commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation with funding from The Co-operative, A new report from Twin provides an analysis and evaluation of how specific business practices facilitate smallholder producer development and empowerment in fair trade supply chains.

The report looks at six farmer organisations across three commodities: cocoa, tea and nuts. The organisations chosen represent different business models within the Fairtrade movement. The report finds that smallholder supply chain relationships are far from uniform and that there is variability even between farmer organisations based in the same country, dealing in the same commodity.

The analysis of the findings confirms the complexity of empowerment and development and the fact that there is no single formula to achieving either. They do, however, provide a number of interesting insights on the nature of the trading relationship. It also makes recommendations for buyers in terms of how they might better engage with and support smallholder producers.

The research comes at a critical moment as there is renewed interest in the donor community and the private sector in the central role that smallholders play in driving rural development and also ensuring the sustainability of future global supply chains.

The report was presented at an event: ‘Making international supply chains work for smallholder farmers: How can the private sector play its part?’ hosted at the Commonwealth Secretariat on Thursday 10th May.

Read Twin’s full report: ‘Making international supply chains work for smallholder farmers: A comparative study of six fair trade value chains’