Open Access Freier Zugang (Open Access)  Eingeschränkter Zugriff Zugang für Abonnent*innen oder durch Zahlung einer Gebühr

Kommerzialisierung des Fairen Handels. Auswirkungen auf Produzenten am Beispiel des südafrikanischen Rooibos-Tee-Sektors

Maria Tech

Volltext: PDF


Schlagwörter: Fairer Handel, Mainstreaming, Kommerzialisierung, Marktorientierung, Rooibos-Tee, Produzentensicht, Plantagen, Standardisierung, Empowerment


The Mainstreaming and Market Orientation of Fair Trade and its Impacts on Producers


The Case of Rooibos Tea. Since the 1990s Fair Trade has been expanding into “mainstream” markets, working together with commercially oriented players. This process, also referred to as mainstreaming,  commercialization or market orientation, is much debated within the Fair  Trade movement. This article analyses the consequences of increasing market orientation on the beneficiaries of Fair Trade – small-scale farmers and hired plantation workers – using the example of the Rooibos tea sector. Four Fair Trade certified producer organizations served as case  studies. The interviews conducted disclose that the entry of market-driven players has introduced the logic of the conventional market into the Fair Trade Rooibos tea sector. One example is the introduction of competition between the two producer types, in which the small-scale farmers are  disadvantaged and squeezed out of the market in the absence of an  adequate minimum price. Moreover, interviewees deem the extent of worker empowerment insufficient; they report negative consequences as a result of standardization and consider the existing participation structures of Fairtrade International (formerly Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International – FLO) as inadequate to effectively include producer  interests. The example of Rooibos tea shows that the increasing market orientation of Fair Trade involves consequences which are incompatible with its core principle of social justice and, thereby, can undermine the  legitimacy and effectiveness of Fair Trade.

Keywords: fair trade, mainstreaming, commercialization, market orientation, rooibos tea, producer perspective, plantations, standardization, worker empowerment