Aimed at increasing Fairtrade farmers’ entrepreneurial abilities through the use of technology; the two year IFAD-funded project “Linking Farmers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to Fairtrade Markets” supports farmers to capitalise on their use of technology to better perform tasks such as price negotiation, logistics and planning, as well as identifying market opportunities and accessing information. This project targets Fairtrade certified and pre-applicant cocoa and coffee producer organisations in PNG, covering more than 5,000 farmers, their families and communities.
In the first year, Fairtrade ANZ held two Information Communication Technology (ICT) workshops in PNG, serving as opportunities to collect information from farmers on their current ICT uses and needs, and to consult with farmers and other stakeholders on how to best address them. As a result of both workshops, Fairtrade ANZ was able to map all the actors involved in specific supply chains, identifying current communication strengths and weaknesses. Findings also stressed the importance of verbal communication among farmers, and the importance of capitalising on the technology currently available.
Fairtrade ANZ has also initiated a partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in PNG, bringing these farming communities and supply chain actors into the larger ICT project carried out by the IFC in PNG. Through a commissioned research, IFC made recommendations to Fairtrade ANZ on potential ICT solutions, which include investment in SMS and interactive voice response messaging systems, use of broadcasted radio, and technical information dissemination through kiosks, solar charging stations, and partnership with local mobile communication providers.
In 2015, Fairtrade ANZ will focus on discussing and refining the analysis undertaken so far to finalise a package of possible interventions for each target group. It will also launch pilot projects with selected organisations. Based on the learnings gained from the pilots, Fairtrade ANZ will roll out the remaining interventions.
At the close of the project, Fairtrade ANZ will conduct surveys with all target groups and partner organisations to assess short-term impact and provide support on a regular basis to ensure farmer uptake and long-term sustainability.