Fairtrasa's Three Tier Farmer Development Model
Since 2005, Fairtrasa has pioneered a for-profit business-and-development model that brings marginalized small-scale farmers into the global food supply chain and lifts them out of poverty. To build this new model, Fairtrasa started with a simple fact: In the developing world, not all small-scale farmers are at the same level of development. Instead, there are 3 basic tiers: subsistence (Tier 1), post-subsistence (Tier 2), and developed (Tier 3). While Fairtrade-certified food comes from small-scale Tier 3 and some Tier 2 farmers, hundreds of millions of Tier 1 and Tier 2 farmers remain excluded from the global food supply chain. Fairtrasa’s Three Tier Farmer Development Model addresses this gap, providing small-scale farmers in all 3 tiers with support and resources according to their specific needs, with the goal of helping every farmer become an independent agro-entrepreneur. Fairtrasa's model strives to improve the economic, environmental, social, and entrepreneurial well-being of small-scale farmers. Our five impact goals are:
  • Make small-scale farmers more productive and professional.
  • Bring small-scale farmers into the world food supply chain.
  • Improve livelihoods of farmers, workers, their families and their communities.
  • Improve farmer organizations.
  • Protect the environment.
Tier 1: Subsistence Farmers
  • Sell their products to middlemen or local markets at low prices
  • Generally have low yields due to a lack of best agricultural practices
  • Lack technical expertise and resources to farm high-quality crops
  • Have no or weak associations/cooperatives.
  • Do not know how to manage and qualify for Organic or Fairtrade certifications
  • Reach Tier 2 when they improve agricultural practices and produce crops that meet export standards
Tier 2: Post-Subsistence Farmers
  • Produce crops with better yields and higher quality
  • Fruits begin to meet export quality
  • Are developing the administrative and leadership skills of their associations/cooperatives
  • May have one or more international certifications, but need help managing them
  • Sell their fruit on local markets and/or to an exporter who sells to international markets
  • Reach Tier 3 when in a position to export by themselves
Tier 3: Independent Agro-Entrepreneurs
  • Have good agricultural know-how, generally apply best practices and achieve high yields
  • Produce high-quality crops for international markets
  • Have well organized associations/cooperatives with elected leader
  • Manage their Organic, Fairtrade and GlobalGAP certifications
  • May sell crops directly on international markets