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    The History of ATJ  
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What is Alter Trade Japan (ATJ)
The History of ATJ
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Grass-root trading company
ATJ, a grass-root trading company, was established through joint capital investment of consumers' cooperatives, trading groups of organic products and citizen's groups, based on the activities of an NGO, Japan Committee for Negros Campaign (JCNC).
ATJ was launched in 1987, when JCNC and other groups started to import Mascobado sugar from the Negros Island in the Philippines.


Emergency Relief started by JCNC
During the long history of colonialism in the Philippines, many parts of the country, including the paddy fields for staple food of the people were converted to sugarcane plantation. Especially, the Negros Island, called "sugar pot", used to have 60% share of sugar total production. Then, the island faced with hunger as sugarcane workers became jobless caused by drastic slump of international sugar market. JCNC actively launched campaign in Japan to support emergency relief work in Negros .Together with relief work such as sending food and medical supplies, JCNC found it important to promote mid- and long-term support activities, which led to reconstruction projects as well as carabao (water buffalo) distribution campaign. Also, fund raising for agricultural training farm for sugar workers started.

Beginning of trade opposed to structural violence
While the support work continued, the question was raised, "The food may be delivered today, but what will people eat tomorrow in the midst of the structural violence existing there most severely. As a result, the trade of Mascobado sugar began, as an alternative form of aid in which consumers in Japan would buy the people's products in Negros. Mascobado is the dark sugar produced locally on Negros island using traditional method. People's organizations and NGOs in Negros established Alter Trade Corporation (ATC) aiming to achieve new distribution system of people and by people, through selling the sugar to consumers' groups in Japan in cooperation with JCNC. Following Japan, citizens' organizations in Europe started to import Mascobado.
Through this experiment of grass-root trade of Mascobado sugar as well as direct exchange with people in Negros, those who were involved with the activities realized the importance to create alternative relationship with people in the Third World. Thus, Alter Trade Japan (ATJ) was set up in 1989, as an alternative, independent company for people's trade, which is different from traditional trading company.
       
1986 February   Japan Committee for Negros Campaign (JCNC) as an NGO for relief work for the people faced with hunger in Negros Island in the Philippines.
  June   Emergency relief began by sending foodstuff and medical supply to Negros.
  December   Alter Trade Corporation (ATC) founded in Negros as a people's trading company.
1987 March   JCNC together with other three organizations started import of Mascobado sugar.
1988 December   Preparatory Group for Alter Trade Japan was set up to import the Balangon Bananas.
1989 February   Test import of the Balangon Bananas started in cooperation with Green Coop,
a consumers' organization in Japan.
  September   Banana import started regularly centering on the people-to-people trade.
  October   Alter Trade Japan, Inc (ATJ) was founded.
1990     Import of the Balangon Bananas developed rapidly through consumers'
cooperatives and groups engaged in direct buying farm products from
producers.
  November   Production areas of the Balangon Bananas in Negros severely hit by a larg-scale typhoon called "Lupin".
1991 January   The Five-Year Development Program (FYDP) started for rehabilitation from damage caused by the typhoon and for self-reliance of banana production areas.
  July   Balangon Growers Association (BGA) was founded in the banana producing communities in Negros.
1992 April   Import of "Eco-Shrimps", the product of traditional extensive shrimp farming in Indonesia started.
1993 August   People's Agricultural Program for 21st Century from Negros (PAP1) started with the Self?Reliance Fund accumulated by the banana trade.
  October   Import of Nam Do Kimchi from South Sunchon Farmers Cooperatives in Korea
started.
  December   Naturareza, organic coffee from Ecuador, began to be imported.
1994 March   Balangon Bananas producting areas including BGA was severely damaged by continuous cropping.
1996 March   The Compost Center, Kaneshige Farm, was set up to deal with Banana Disease.
  September   Jointly with TWIN, an English fairtrade organization, import of fair-trade coffee from Peru, Mexico and Tanzania started.
2000 April   Organic Shrimp Project launched in Indonesia.
  July   ATJ's local office opened at Surabaya city in Indonesia.
  September   The Balangon Renewal Program (BRP) was adopted.
2001 May   Jointly with TWIN, Fairtrade Coffee from Haiti started.
  November   Green Beans from Ecuador were certified in compliance with Japanese Agricultural Standard of Organic Agricultural Produces (JAS).
2002 March   Import of Sel de Guerande, the natural sea salt from France, started.
  May   Asian Coffee Collection East Timor project launched.
  July   The First Phase of Organic Shrimp Project received organic certificates from Naturand, an IFOAM accredited certifying body based in Germany.
  October   Green Beans from Peru were certified in compliance with Japanese Agricultural Standard of Organic Agricultural Produces (JAS).
  December   An ATJ staff was assigned to Negros.
2003 June   Alter Trade Indonesia founded.
  October   Green Beans from Mexico were certified as Organic Agricultural Products of JAS.
 2004 November   Import of Palestinian Olive Oil started.
2005 March   Asian Coffee Collection Laos started.
  May   Quaterly Magazine "at" was released.
  June   Import of Eco-Shrimp from newly developed Southern Sulawesi, started.
  October   Pal System Consumers Cooperative Union held the 1st Balangon Open Forum in Negros.
  November   Jointly with TWIN, Fairtrade Coffee from Rwanda started.
2006 March   Import of Balangon Banana from Northern Mindanao and Lake Sebu started.
2007 June   Project area of Asian Coffee Collection East Timor was expanded into Ermera district.
2008 August   Pal System Consumers Cooperative Union held the Eco-Shrimp Open Forum in Indonesia.
2009 January   Consumers groups, ATJ and APLA responded to the emergency call of NGOs in Palestine and raised the fund for “Food Basket” for the victims of Israeli Troops attack in Gaza Strip.
  September   ATJ had 20 years celebration events in Hama-rikyu Asahi Hall.
       
 
   
   
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