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THE FAIRTRADE STORY
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The Fairtrade Idea
Magrabi Agriculture is one of the leading agriculture companies in Egypt. It owns about 9000 acres that are divided into six farms. The company is located in the desert area of Noubaria which is about 1.5 hours away from Cairo and about 1 hour away from Alexandria. Even though one might consider this a strategic place, transportation from and to these two major cities is an uneasy task.

The company employs 3000 permanent employees and about 3000 casual/ seasonal workers. As it is the case in any third world country, people in Egypt suffer from poverty, literacy, and illness. Magrabi Agriculture, however, believes in its workers and employees as they are the most important asset for any organization. The company understands that caring for the people will result in loyalty, better production and high yields. Therefore, the company started assisting its workers and employeesby establishing a health care clinic, day care center, and a social/sports club. Even though these changes made workers happy, Magrabi was still seeking more improvements to elevate the life of its workers. As a part of its corporate social responsibility for the workers serving in Magrabi agriculture, neighboring area families and to contribute to our country’s development and welfare, Magrabi Agriculture started working to have Fairtrade certified products to use the incoming premium for workers’ benefits.

Fairtrade asks for extra payment over the price of its certified products to develop and improve workers’ conditions and their families socially and economically. That is called Fairtrade Premium which is money on top of the price agreed on for the product; it is an extra payment. It should not be included in price negotiations. The Premium is not to be given out directly to individual workers in cash or its equivalent. The Premium can be used to find projects such as schools, training and recreational facilities. Therefore, with the aim of managing and distributing Fairtrade Premium among Magrabi Agriculturist's workers & their communities, Magrabi Agriculture encouraged its workers to establish MAFA Joint Body (i.e. a committee elected only by workers) to decide on the projects that will conducted using the Fairtrade premium in 2004. The premium will be used for projects that are sustainable, environmental friendly and gender sensitive.