Spice producers all around the world face a series of challenges which Fairtrade helps them overcome through initiatives like the Fairtrade premium and Standard practices.

Issues around
the globe

We use herbs and spices to liven up our food. But the farmers and workers who grow them are often left with a bitter taste in their mouth. Fortunately a huge variety of herbs and spices are now available as Fairtrade.

While the number of farmers and workers that grow herbs and spices is vast and diverse, the number of companies that trade and market them is not. This leads to a huge power imbalance when it comes to trade, with growers often feeling the pinch in terms of price.

The people who grow herbs and spices face many challenges:

  • Work in remote areas with poor transport and telecommunications links.
  • Increased production costs
  • Hampered their market access
  • Increased reliance on a limited number of traders that visit their area.
  • Changing weather patterns and commoditization of spices can fuel price fluctuations, making it even harder for smallholder farmers and plantation workers to earn a decent living from their crops.

Trade that is
making lives better

For several long-standing Fairtrade herbs and spices such as rooibos and vanilla, there is a Fairtrade Minimum Price aimed at covering the costs of sustainable production, as well as a Fairtrade Premium on top of that price. Among the many spices and herbs that Fairtrade includes, there are some which don’t have a Fairtrade Minimum Price. Traders that purchase these products on Fairtrade terms must pay producers a premium of 15% on top of the commercial sales price.

Small-scale farmers and plantation workers invest the Fairtrade Premium to foster the economic, social and ecological wellbeing of their communities. Popular investments include:

  • Education
  • Health care
  • Community projects
  • Processing equipment
  • Loans or cash payments to members

Fairtrade interventions related to Spices

Fairtrade works with farmers who’ve formed small producer organisations, as well as contract production organisations in the process of forming independent co-operatives. These farmer organisations create a local support mechanism that facilitate:

  • Access to markets

  • Access to finance

  • Knowledge sharing

  • Better resource management

  • Better risk management

Beyond the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium, Fairtrade brings many other benefits for the farmers and workers who grow herbs and spices.

Fairtrade also undertakes specific programmes linked to climate change response and gender equity, which herb and spice growers are able to participate in and learn from.

Our Standards encourages:

  • Access to credit ahead of harvest
  • Support on protection of health and safety as well as the environment
  • Training on cultivation and processing techniques

Producer Stories

How Fairtrade is enabling spice farmers in Kerala combat climate change

Brands that trade fair