The Governance of Fair Trade System: Evidence from Small Honey Producers in Rio Grande do Sul

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This paper discusses Fair Trade [FT] certification as a way to include small producers in global value chains, and identifies the main barriers for small honey producers from RS to meet these criteria. A new trading system such as FT has been providing access for food products coming from small farmers from developing countries. The method of this study integrates global value chain analysis and the methodology proposed by Paul (2005) to analyse FT as development projects. This study is three-fold: first to characterise the FT system; then to present the role of governance by third party certifiers such as FLO-CERT and finally to provide empirical evidence of the main difficulties that small producers have to comply with FT, such as export and organisation capacity. Our findings show that large retailers recently became big players in the FT system. The certification costs are high but can provide market access though there is a risk of overspecialisation.