Fair Trade citrus promotion comes to New York

Aug 15, 2010

Sixteen Food Emporium stores in Manhattan are featuring Fair Trade-certified South African citrus the week of Aug. 15.

According to a news release, the promotion features citrus grown through an 11-year-old economic development program called Harvest of Hope, an ownership and development program for workers on citrus farms belonging to growers who are members of the Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum. The citrus group represents about 350 growers who are eligible to export to the U.S. and other countries.

The promotion includes navel oranges from Cedar Citrus, a farm near Citrusdal, South Africa, which is jointly owned by Gerrit van der Merwe, chairman of the WCCPF, and 36 of his employees. The Cedar Citrus program is one of about 15 similar programs at Western Cape citrus operations designed to empower employees through ownership and social programs. 

Van der Merwe visited Food Emporium stores Aug. 16 to raise awareness about the program among consumers.

Growth in the South African citrus industry over the past 11 years helped make Harvest of Hope possible, van der Merwe said in a news release.

“Citrus exports to the U.S. began with 500 tons in 1999,” van der Merwe said. “This year we will be exporting in excess of 40,000 tons. The growth has enabled WCCPF members to initiate and sustain the Harvest of Hope program of economic empowerment for their farm employees.”

The program supports education, training, health care and child care initiatives as well.

Harvest of Hope projects also are supported by wine and table grape farms and deciduous fruit producers and also include worker shareholding in citrus packinghouses.

(Note on correction: The article originally incorrectly listed the number of WCCPF members as the membership of Harvest of Hope.)

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