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US$6.6 billion spent on Fairtrade products in 2011

Fairtrade InternationalUS$6.6 billion was spent on Fairtrade certified products last year, according to figures released by Fairtrade International this month.

“Fairtrade is the norm for millions of people," said Tuulia Syvaenen, Executive Operations Officer at Fairtrade International, in a statement. "It is a part of the regular weekly shopping. And now sales of Fairtrade certified products are taking off in new countries, as entirely new groups of people discover Fairtrade for the first time,” 

In Fairtrade’s biggest market, the United Kingdom, shoppers reportedly spent 12 per cent more on Fairtrade certified products in 2011 than they did in 2010. In Fairtrade’s first and oldest market, the Netherlands, Fairtrade sales in stores and restaurants grew by 24 per cent. Around the globe, retail sales of Fairtrade certified products increased by a total of 12 per cent.

The statement noted that market share of Fairtrade certified products has hit decisive levels in a number of established Fairtrade markets. More than half (55 per cent) of all bananas bought in Switzerland bear the Fairtrade mark. Almost half (42 per cent) of all bagged sugar in UK stores will be Fairtrade certified following the latest supermarket commitment.

Meanwhile, growth of Fairtrade sales in new countries was said to be skyrocketing. South Africans spent more than three times more on Fairtrade certified products in 2011 over 2010. Shoppers there can buy Fairtrade products grown by farmers and workers in their own country. In its first year with a national Fairtrade organisation, sales in South Korea registered at around US$20.6 million.

Sales close to doubled in the countries with no national Fairtrade organisation present, to almost US$91 million. Products with the Fairtrade Mark are now available to people in more than 120 countries on all inhabited continents.

Sales were reported to have grown steadily across all of the leading Fairtrade products: coffee by 12 per cent, cocoa by 14 per cent, bananas 9 per cent, sugar 9 per cent, tea 8 per cent, and flowers by 11 per cent.

"Strong Fairtrade sales are great news for the more than 1.2 million farmers and workers working at 991 Fairtrade certified producer organizations in 66 countries," the statement noted. "In addition to the income they earned from sales of Fairtrade products, farmers and workers earned an extra US$79 million in Fairtrade Premium. They spent this money on projects that they decided upon democratically. This included farm improvements and processing equipment, education and career training, community projects and healthcare."

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