Collaborative Excellence and Accountability
APRIL  2017
Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

After two busy trade shows, Biofach in Nuremberg, Germany and Natural Expo West in Anaheim, California, we're back in the office attending to new projects and renewed and growing partnerships. For us the major event at Biofach was a meeting with several other Organic/Fair Trade organizations to explore collaboration based on concrete and tangible Fair Trade principles that take into account some of the current criticism of the more established Fair Trade programs, such as lack of project-based accountability, lack of transparency of premiums, and the fact that small operations are not able to enter those programs. All of these areas are strongly emphasized by the FairTSA Fair Trade program and we are very pleased to contribute to more cooperation and equivalencies within the Fair Trade arena by participating in this work group.

Natural Expo West brought great warm weather and more than 80,000 people to sunny Anaheim, CA - almost 30,000 more than in 2016. Together with my colleague Jake we attended many meetings, almost all of which resulted in new projects and the confirmation that our approach to Fair Trade continues to build ever more traction.

In this time of insecurity and alternative facts we want to assure you that we remain committed to our mission of accountability and transparency in supporting rural communities in their strife for a livable future.

For the FairTSA Team
Winfried Fuchshofen

Castanhal Companhia Textil . . .
a FairTSA Fair Trade Producer in the Amazon

FairTSA's recent partner Castanhal Companhia Textil, headquartered in Castanhal, Brazil, is doing wonderful work helping to organize and strengthen agricultural communities whose main source of income is jute production. Jute fiber, or burlap, is a material produced by rural river-dwelling communities in the Amazon.

Growing jute coincides with the ebb and flow of the river and its seasons so closely, that it allows  families to carry out other necessary activities such as fishing and subsistence agriculture. Jute is one of the main local crops which provides steady capital for even the most remote people of the Amazon. The industry of jute production enabled by companies like Castanhal is helping secure livelihoods for rural populations, enabling them to stay and prosper in their native environment. In this globalist age of rural emigration, concrete initiatives to strengthen rural traditions in agriculture are ever more important.

Jute agriculture is a longstanding Amazon craft which follows the annual rhythms of the environment.  The jute crops are planted in floodplain areas of the Amazon during the dry season. As it floods and is fed by the river, organic matter accumulates to fertilize the land for the next season. Because of this there is no need for fertilizers or chemical pesticides. The water acts to feed and protect the crops. Similarly, jute products such as yarn and textiles are 100% biodegradable. The survival of this longstanding system is being threatened by dwindling rural agriculture communities, and Castanhal is committed to developing projects and improving this industry to make it a profitable and viable source of income to the people who choose to stay and live closely with their environment.

As a  socially and environmentally deeply committed company, Castanhal already have initiatives in place to strengthen their worker communities. They run a non-profit IFIBRAM - Promotion Institute of the Amazon Plant Fiber Production, which helps organize, educate, and maintain efficient seed production and distribution. This helps strengthen the product and practices over time, and makes sure the seeds are being used to their full potential. Castanhal also supports the farmers in maintaining an optimal growing system, which results in higher yields and a very high quality jute fiber. In addition, they also pay prices to the farmers that are at least double of those recommended by the State Authority. In the future with Fair Trade funding they plan to purchase the highest quality jute seeds, and through diligent work they will grow the seed bank enormously to provide high quality jute to the world. The demands for jute span from sacks, bags, carpets, to canoes - the major means of transportation in the Amazon. FairTSA looks forward to the continued collaboration with the  wonderful work of Castanhal Companhia Textil.
New Partners
A new Producer and Licensee, Castanhal Companhia Textil, based in Castanhal, is the largest jute manufacturer in Brazil. See feature 
A new Licensee, Ococo Europe, located in Italy, is passionate about  sharing the health benefits of their high quality organic coconut water  and coconut oil with its customers. The company was founded by Rocio  Manrique after the personal experience she had with these products.
A new Producer, Amazon Health/Starseed, located in Lima, PERU, does  marvelous and hard work in the Peruvian Rainforest. Their story from  two buddies trekking in the Amazon Valley to a company that provides  farmers there with a decent livelihood, while at the same time  supporting and reforesting the fragile Amazon ecosystem is certainly an  amazing one. They are now providing highest quality sacha inchi,  starseed (anise), and other tropical products to buyers all over the  world.