The Fair Trade, Employment and Poverty Reduction Project (FTEPRP) is a four-year research project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented in Ethiopia and Uganda. The project aims to collect detailed micro-level evidence from areas producing agricultural exports on how rural labour markets affect poor people’s lives. Comparative evidence is collected to cover Fair Trade certified production and non-certified production. The objective is to make a detailed case for new, cost-effective interventions directly targeted to improve the standards of living of the poorest people involved in agricultural export commodity production.
Hundreds of millions of women and men around the world are involved in producing agricultural commodities for export or working for such producers. To protect these producers, who face volatile global market prices, a range of new certification schemes and codes of practice has been devised, including Fair Trade. However, too little is known about the impact of these initiatives at the local level and on different types of rural people. This project investigates how effective these schemes are at reducing poverty among those dependent on access to wage employment.
Rigorously designed and methodologically original fieldwork in Ethiopia and Uganda is generating evidence that has never been gathered in such detail before. Fieldwork also involves capacity building for researchers in Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as innovative use of GPS and hand-held computers in sampling, which will be of interest to all those committed to high quality evidence on rural development.
The project will lead to the publication of policy briefs, working papers, a methodological guidebook, and articles in peer-reviewed journals. Workshops and conference presentations will be organised in the UK and in East Africa, together with our partners there.
How to do (and how not to do) fieldwork on fair trade and rural poverty
Christopher Cramer, Deborah Johnston, Bernd Mueller, Carlos, Oya, John Sender