Storimarket's position on Fairtrade & Organic

Organic progress, over perfection

Storimarket believes in the principles of organic farming and works with farmers trained in good agricultural and environmental practices. In all cases, our products are farmed using natural and organic inputs and techniques. This means, many are organically certified or working towards this. However, Storimarket believes we can do better than traditional audit techniques, which have been used by organic accreditation agencies for decades.

Instead, we seek to use the latest technology to monitor famers in real-time to ensure our food is farmed in a way that is good for people, and the planet.

Evolving the status quo

Traditional organic accreditation relies on an auditor conducting a one-off visit to a sample of farmers. We believe we can do better, so we are digitally connecting our entire network of farmers to offer real-time, soil-to-shelf transparency. Furthermore, regular support visits and training in good agricultural and environmental practices will be digitally documented. In time, we will support all our farmers to get organic accreditation.

 

Why organic accreditation must hinder, not help smallholder farmers

However, Storimarket does not insist on organic accreditation due to the upfront cost, which some smallholder farmers could not afford1. For example, the required exclusion zones between farms would deprive farmers of valuable land at a time when climate change is set to disproportionately reduce Africa’s arable land. Furthermore, like the Soil Association who offer dispensations, Storimarket does allow use of closely monitored, EU-approved non-organic inputs when their absence could endanger the livelihood of the farmer.

That’s because, we believe that smallholder farmers’ livelihoods should take priority over organic accreditation. Here’s why:

 

  • Africa is a continent of smallholder farmers, which employs about 70% of the workforce
  • Up to 90% of food in sub-Saharan African countries is produced by these 33 million farms.
  • Smallholders remain some of the poorest households, most vulnerable to climate change.

 To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and protect food security, integrating smallholder farmers into the global food supply chain is essential. Indeed, that is Storimarket’s vision and mission. We ask you to join us in promoting organic progress over perfection.


Evolving fair trade

Storimarket meets the ten fair trade principles. However, rather than spend thousands of pounds on accreditation to simply replicate the status quo2, we have chosen to prioritise innovation to to evolve fair trade to be fairer, more sustainable and fully transparent:

  1. Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
  2. Traceability and accountability
  3. Fair trading practices
  4. Fair payment
  5. Zero child or forced labour
  6. Commitment to non-discrimination, gender equity and women’s economic empowerment, and freedom of association
  7. Ensuring good working conditions
  8. Providing capacity building
  9. Promoting fair trade
  10. Respect for the environment 

Storimarket believes the status quo is insufficient, so is therefore seeking to offer customers full soil-to-shelf transparency. By using the latest technology to go beyond the label, we aim to evolve fair trade to be fairer, more sustainable and fully transparent. Below, this approach is outlined.

Our approach

  • Fairer: full visibility of the fair trading and transactions, from farmer to producer to retailer. Labour practices monitored by an Ethical Trading Initiative member. 
  • More Sustainable: good agricultural and environmental practices monitored in real-time using digital farm management tools. Waste mapped throughout the supply chain. 
  • Fully Transparent: real-time, soil-to-shelf transparency. Traceability to individual farmers or groups, with compelling stories to show the impact consumers are making through fair trade.



 Why we must evolve fair trade, together

Evolving fair trade is necessary to meet the increasing demands of retailers and consumers: two thirds of consumers want to know more about where their food comes from; 80% want to know that it was produced responsibly and sustainably.

Since the 1970s, the fair trade accreditation has grown to account for over £9bn of sales in 2018. However, this still only accounts for a small percentage of the agricultural and food products coming from developing countries. Therefore, to ensure a fair, sustainable food supply chain we need to do more. Storimarket is here to take fair trade further and we want you to join us.

Please do get in touch with for more information.


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 1 One of our producers has estimated the cost of organic certification to be over £7,000 in the first year, which is prohibitively expensive for them. Furthermore, they would have to abandon their existing network of farmers for larger, more commercial farmers.

2 In the first two years, the estimated cost of accrediting just five products, using Fairtrade Foundation's recommended auditors, FLOCERT, would be over €9,000.