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Indonesia is the 2nd biggest producer of natural rubber. However, until now, the Fair Rubber Association (FRA) did not have any Fair Trade supply chains there. Last October, following the request of a new member, a delegation of the FRA went to Indonesia and did the ground work in order to help small farmers and rubber tappers to participate in Fair Trade. Six months later, 277 rubber tappers from six villages in the western part of Java formed a dedicated Non Governmental Organization called “Kelompok Tukang Sadap Karet Adil Makmur Sejahtera” (= The Fair and Prosperous Rubber Tapping Group) in order to become partners for the FRA and its member company. As soon as the ink on the final missing signature has dried the group will receive the first Fair Trade premium payment and can look forward to further monthly payments: A steady buyer, with significant volume is the only way in which in times of (extremely) low prices the sustainability of a supply chain can be ensured. And in order to make sure that those most in need of support get the extra money: The association is open only to tappers, whether they tap their on trees or are landless and tap trees belonging to others. Land­owners who use hired tappers do not qualify for membership. And even small Fair Trade purchases are put to maximum use: Our small farmer group in Sri Lanka so far only received some EUR 1,000 in Fair Trade premiums, as we struggle to find more buyers for the rubber they produce. But the group is still making good use of the extra income, which they added to their association’s scholarship fund: The Fair Trade premium was shared among 238(!) students from grade 1 to university.

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