This paper brings insights to Fair Trade exchanges by casting commodities beyond material and pecuniary gains to include interpersonal relations. Although numerous studies have highlighted that Fair Trade brings benefits beyond the economic, the process through which ‘material things’ may become imbued with non-pecuniary value remains under-explored. Our analysis of interviews with Fairtrade certified smallholder farmers in Vietnam and in India provides insight into the discursive constructs of their participation in Fair Trade exchanges. Social exchange theory enables us to reconceptualise exchanges in the Fairtrade market to take into account interpersonal processes and long-term relations of exchange between actors. We find that Fair Trade is associated with benefits to both community and individuals and that these are intertwined and linked to participation in a democratic process in the cooperative. The pecuniary and non-pecuniary value generated and sustained by farmer democratic organizations needs to be recognised by Fairtrade importing businesses.