Almost five billion euros (€4.9bn, US$6.6bn) were spent on Fairtrade certified products globally last year, according to figures released in July by Fairtrade International as products with the FAIRTRADE mark became available to people in more than 120 countries.

Retail sales of Fairtrade certified products increased by a total of 12% compared to 2010, including in its biggest market the UK to 1.5 billion euro. Sales in Japan grew by 29% and in Spain by 39%, while in its first and oldest market, the Netherlands, Fairtrade sales grew 24% to 147 million euro.

Meanwhile, growth of Fairtrade sales in new countries is skyrocketing, such as in South Africa, while in its first year with a national Fairtrade organization, sales in South Korea reached 17 million euros.

“Fairtrade is the norm for millions of people and is a part of the regular weekly shopping. And now sales of Fairtrade certified products are taking off in new countries, as entirely new groups of people discover Fairtrade for the first time,” said Tuulia Syvaenen, executive operations officer at Fairtrade International.

Sales grew steadily across all of the leading Fairtrade products: coffee by 12%, cocoa by 14%, bananas 9%, sugar 9%, tea 8%, and flowers by 11%.

Strong Fairtrade sales are great news for the more than 1.2 million farmers and workers working at 991 Fairtrade certified producer organizations in 66 countries. In addition to the income they earned from sales of Fairtrade products, farmers and workers received an extra €65 million in Fairtrade Premium in 2011. They spent this money on projects decided upon democratically, such as farm improvements, education, healthcare and community projects.

“The strong Fairtrade sales mean big wins for the farmers and workers trying to make a decent living,” explains Joseph Ayebazibwe from Mabale Growers Tea Factory in Uganda. “Thanks to support from consumers around the world we were able to invest in many business and community projects. And Fairtrade doesn’t only help improve the living standards of producers; the impact also extends to the wider community. Fairtrade consumers are supporting sustainable development across our beautiful continent.”