Nuts & Oilseeds

Despite being one of the most popular foods around the globe, the production of nuts & oilseeds are one that faces most challenges. From life threatening conditions to low prices, nuts & oilseeds producers face dire circumstances which Fairtrade is actively trying to ameliorate.

Tough nut to crack

Eat them whole, or find them in cooking oils and cosmetics. There is a huge variety of Fairtrade nuts, seeds and pitted fruits available. They range from olives to peanuts, cashews, sesame seeds, and soya beans. Some, like wild-growing shea nuts, are collected by associations of gatherers. Others, like coconuts, can be grown on small-scale farms and plantations.

There are many challenges for producers around the world who rely on small and seasonal harvests from farmed or wild plants or trees. They are:

  • Climate change is affecting weather patterns
  • Difficult access to international markets from remote areas
  • Processing can be laborious – as in the case of shea butter, or dangerous – cashew nuts, for example release an acid harmful to skin if not handled correctly
  • In some countries, deforestation is threatening traditional crops and biodiversity

Fairtrade interventions related to Spices

Fairtrade works with farmers who’ve formed small producer organisations, as well as contract production organisations in the process of forming independent co-operatives. These farmer organisations create a local support mechanism that facilitate:

  • Access to markets

  • Access to finance

  • Knowledge sharing

  • Better resource management

  • Better risk management

Fairtrade efforts
to better the world

By offering stable prices and a viable outlet for their product, Fairtrade helps encourage some of the remote communities growing nuts to protect their areas from logging and deforestation. By avoiding the switch to monoculture crops like palm oil, this can also help to preserve biodiversity.

Fairtrade also supports nut and oilseeds producers through access to advance credit and the extra funds from the Fairtrade Premium. Producers have been able to invest in quality improvements and processing facilities that allow them to capture a greater share of the revenues from their harvests.

For many nut and oil products, there is also a market in by-products. For example, coconuts yield not just the fruit or milk, but also water, husks, and shells – all of which can be sold by producers who receive a Fairtrade Premium on these secondary products, too.

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