Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda. Final Report to DFID, with Appendices


This research project addresses three intersecting issues where it has been acknowledged that there is too little empirical knowledge: the transmission mechanisms linking global trade in agricultural products with poverty reduction; the functioning and significance of rural labour markets in low-income countries; and the labour market dimensions of Fairtrade certification. The core objective of the research was to improve knowledge of transmission mechanisms between the lives of extremely poor rural people (especially women) and international trade in agricultural commodities, focusing especially on the role of labour markets as means of transmission. In particular, the purpose of the research was to understand better the comparative benefits/disadvantages of different institutional arrangements for agricultural production for poor rural people needing access to wage employment. The over-arching research question was whether a poor rural person dependent on access to wage employment for their (and their family’s) survival is better served by employment opportunities in areas where there is a Fairtrade certified producer organization or in areas where there is none. The research was conducted in rural areas of Ethiopia and Uganda producing agricultural export commodities: coffee and flowers in Ethiopia and coffee and tea in Uganda. Specifically, sites were selected that would enable a comparison of employment between areas including Fairtrade certified production and those without such certification, as well as a comparison where possible between areas characterised by predominantly ‘small’ scale vs. larger scale production.


Cramer, C.; Johnston, D.; Oya, C.; Sender, J. Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda. Final Report to DFID, with Appendices. SOAS, University of London, London, UK (2014) 143 pp.

Published 1 January 2014