Fairtrade launches public appeal for Haitian farmers still suffering from hurricane

Cocoa farmer Haiti

As a looming food crisis now threatens struggling communities in Haiti months on since the catastrophic Hurricane Matthew hit the south of the country, The Fairtrade Foundation is launching a new fundraising appeal to help rural communities rebuild their lives and plant much-needed food crops.

Specifically targeting farmers who have lost their homes, animals and crops in the devastating natural disaster, Fairtrade are calling on the public to donate to the appeal this Christmas and support three farming co-operatives.


Following the devastation caused by the most powerful hurricane in a decade when it hit in October and killed at least 1,000 people, today thousands of people are still going without food, shelter and living in unsanitary conditions.

Approx. 7,000 Fairtrade farming families were affected by the hurricane and many of them told Fairtrade’s partners on the ground that because they live in remote areas that are hard to reach, they are not getting any humanitarian assistance and many people are barely eating one meal a day. Their priorities are food, sanitation and reconstruction.

This appeal will support these communities to meet their most urgent needs and generate crucial funds for infrastructure to help them rebuild their homes and the agricultural sector, so they can farm to grow more food and trade again.

To kick start the appeal, Waitrose has already pledged the profits from its single origin Haiti dark chocolate bar to the humanitarian campaign. The cocoa for the chocolate bar was sourced from farms directly affected by the hurricane, the Fairtrade-certified Coopérative Agricole Union et Développement (CAUD). Cocoa bound for Waitrose was destroyed in the disaster so the supply for their chocolate bar has been halted. The retailer is selling its remaining stock until it runs out.

Euan Venters, Commercial Director said, “Months on, the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew is still affecting communities all over Haiti, but for many people living in remote, agricultural areas, are struggling to get support and survive through the crisis. Haitian farmers have lost their homes and their livelihoods but they haven’t lost hope. The support of Waitrose as well as public donations will enable us to really help them get back on their own two feet again. This Christmas, your gift could help rebuild their lives.”

Tor Harris, Head of Responsible Sourcing and Sustainability at Waitrose, said: “We felt it was right to support an area so deeply affected by the hurricane with money from the chocolate bar that local cocoa farmers helped create.  We're pleased to be kick-starting this important Fairtrade campaign - every donation to the appeal will make a direct impact, helping farmers, their families and communities in Haiti.”

The appeal will support farmers like Bonnet Pierre-Louis, 58, general secretary of CAUD, who grows cocoa. He and his family lost their home when the metal roof was blown off in the hurricane but fortunately they were all unhurt. After his sister called and warned him, they managed to get out in time and stayed the night with a friend, taking just a few documents in a plastic bag. He said: “It was raining heavily. I couldn't realize that the winds could blow so hard making an incredible noise in the dark night. Just after two hours of rain, the whole village was flooded. Where I was, everybody had to stand on the beds. When I came back to my own house the day after, it was partially destroyed.”

 Before the storm, Mr. Pierre-Louis was making a decent living from cocoa farming, and he grew enough fruit and vegetables for himself and his three children. He wants to start rebuilding their lives: "We need materials to build up our houses, tools to get prepared our plots and seeds to grow short cycle plants like beans, corns, sweet potatoes and pumpkins within the next two months".

About the Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.65 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 74 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.

Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continues to be high in 2014, at a level of 78%. Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2015 exceeded £1.6 billion.

For more information contact:

Susannah Henty, Media and PR Manager

Tel: +44 (0)20 7440 8597 susannah.henty@fairtrade.org.uk