Effect Of Fairtrade Practices On Social Economic Development Of Flower Farm Workers In Naivasha, Kenya
Fair-trade trading system is a system that has been developed to allow fair benefits for all the people involved, more particularly the producers and the workers. It has a set of standards that if met, the company receives a fair-trade certification which allows it to enjoy certain benefits. These include having price floors for their products and receiving premiums which can be used in investing in social economic projects in their community. These standards include guarantee of social welfare for the workers, health and safety, equity, good working conditions and many more. Available literature provides for evidence of the system being useful in starting some of the social economic projects in different parts of the world. However it is in these same areas of work that Kenya human rights commission had complained of rampant abuse of human rights and the recent mass protests, work boycott and strikes have been recorded. Hence this study sought to understand if indeed the system is working towards improving lives of especially workers in the flower industry. Therefore the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of fair-trade trading system in improving the social-economic development of flower farm workers. In order to achieve this purpose the study used descriptive survey design which helped in getting information on the current status of the phenomena under study. The target population was flower farm workers in Naivasha who come from both fair-trade certified and non fair-trade certified. The research further targeted the employees who held supervisory positions in the farms this is because the managers could have been biased in giving their views while the general workers may not have understood the dynamics and workings of the fair-trade trading system. A sample size of 197 respondents was used to carry out the research. The sample size was arrived at by use of both probability and non probability techniques. At choosing the flower farms, the researcher used purposive sampling which ensured that those farms that are fair-trade certified and those that are not are included in the sample. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. This was made possible by the using of SPSS software and presented through tables and percentages. The study found out that social welfare practices were promoted, that premiums have been used in starting community projects, equity was adhered to and minimum prices ensured steady income and job security for the workers. The study also concluded that there are social welfare associations that sought to improve the quality of the farm workers and that fair trade premiums had been used in the construction of hospitals and schools. The premiums have also been invested in projects that improve the quality of the workers. It also concluded that there was no discrimination against the vulnerable and that promotion in the work place was based on the performance of the individual. The study also concluded that working conditions in flower farms positively contribute to the socio-economic development of flower workers to a large extent. The minimum prices ensured development of the workers by ensuring job security and steady income. The study recommended that the farms in Naivasha to build more housing facilities. The study also recommends that more premiums be remitted to developing countries to promote start of social economic projects. Those farms that are not fair-trade certified should work on getting the certification to allow enjoyment of minimum prices and subsequent benefits to the workers.