Today, much of what we hear about Zimbabwe is news of their ongoing economic and political crises. However, the country does have significant infrastructure investment and a dynamic population. The situation is not idyllic though; there is a significant economic crisis. Unemployment is one of the main problems facing the people of Zimbabwe.
Economic investment can and does play a part in changing the situation and that is why Fair Trade is so important for Zimbabwean flower farms. The financial situation is quite critical for most flower farms in the country and specifically for Fair Trade farms as their costs are higher to produce goods according to strict environmental standards. Protective equipment for workers and alternative agricultural inputs (because Fair Trade prohibits the most dangerous pesticides and chemicals) mean that Zimbabwean companies invest much more in their product and in their worker safety than the typical farm. Through Fair Trade flower purchasing, flower workers at Sheena and other Zimbabwean Fair Trade farms earn fair wages and are guaranteed fair working conditions. In addition, Fair Trade premiums from flower sales allow workers to implement projects like emergency funds and school support campaigns.
Why is working on a Fair Trade farm different? It's different because there is the community development premium and the revolving loan fund [created with the premium and managed by the workers]. We also have better protective clothing here so my health has improved. Thanks to the boots we have there are no more cracks in my feet. The gloves also prevent me from being hurt by the thorns on the flowers. ”
Charity Guyayama & Canissious Chiromba
Funding for books and supplies for community children
The workers of Sheena Flowers voted to purchase paper, pencils and other school supplies for the children in the community using Fair Trade premium funds. These supplies will provide students with the necessary tools for their education. Community development funds were also used to purchase books for two local schools.
Funds for funeral expenses for workers' families
A funeral fund was developed to ensure that workers and their families could receive monetary support if a relative or family member passes away. Fair Trade premiums help families cover these costs when the primary income-earner dies and families are left with significant debts and funereal costs.