Business News of 2014-01-15

Golden Exotics Company goes Fairtrade

Workers of Golden Exotics Limited, West Africa's leading banana producer based in Ghana, are to benefit from a 600,000 dollar package being premiums received by the company from Fairtrade.

The company received Fairtrade Certification and started selling banana under the product certification system since last year. About 12 per cent of banana exported by Golden Exotics in 2013 was sold to Fairtrade, which yielded a premium of 600,000 dollars. Already, workers and management of the company, together with Fairtrade, have agreed on some key projects to spend the premiums on.

Corporate Affairs Manager of Golden Exotics, George Kporye told Joy Business the benefits from Fairtrade will provide substantial support to the over two thousand workforce.

"We had agreed to provide lunch for all workers-2,000 of them, we'd also agreed to provide educational support to up to 200 wards of workers in the Senior High Schools for the three terms".

In addition, the company will take up the bills of 300 BECE candidates. The Osudoku Senior High Technical School in the area will be provided with a Laboratory, out of benefits accrued from Fairtrade.

The Fairtrade certification works under a system where designated products are sold under the trademark of the Fairtrade Organisation. Such products are sold at premium prices with the intention of rewarding producers of those products with the premiums. But it comes at a cost. To trade with the Fairtrade Mark a company must satisfy some specific requirements ranging from Environmental standards, Labour issues ranging from the collective bargaining procedures, the elimination of child labour at the plantation to democratic practices between management and staff at the workplace.

George Kporye says the adoption of Fairtrade placed additional responsibilities on the company.These include placing all workers on permanent contract basis, thus abolishing casual labour on the plantation.

"Besides, we had to put all workers on the NHIS (Health Insurance) and their spouses and family, we're providing bus service to bring the workers to work and back home".

The company must also ensure that the workers are well protected at the workplace.

He said the company was doing most of these in the past, but with the Certification the company is now bound to strictly adhere to those standards.

Golden Exotic's annual production stands at fifty thousand tonnes, which is fully certified. Management is hopeful it will increase supply to Fairtrade from its current 12 percent to about 30%.

Meanwhile, work on an initial 300 housing units for workers of the company is to commence in March. The EU is supporting the project with 190 million Euros. The company also intends to build additional 700 housing units, making a total of one thousand housing units for the workforce.

Source: myjoyonline
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