Fairtrade Fortnight 2018

Buying Fairtrade is easy

Mold Co-op team leader, Andy Wilcock with Fairtrade bananas donated to the Fairtrade event in Mold, which included a quiz about the Co-op’s long-term involvement in supporting Fairtrade producers by selling their produce

There are over 4,500 Fairtrade products from coffee and tea to flowers and gold, so when you shop, look out for Fairtrade. Every day millions of farmers in developing countries provide the food that we eat, yet many are not being paid enough to support their families. They are paying the real cost of our cheap everyday foods.

To raise awareness of this exploitation Fairtrade groups are taking part in Fairtrade Fortnight. The nationwide initiative, led by the Fairtrade Foundation, runs from 26 February to 11 March and highlights to shoppers where the produce they are buying comes from and at what cost to producers.

The power is in your hands

Fairtrade works with 1.5 million farmers and workers in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin and Central America enabling them to earn a sustainable income and the Fairtrade Premium. When shoppers chose to buy a Fairtrade product they are helping to support better, fairer trade for growers of tea, cocoa, bananas, coffee and other crops sourced around the world.

Banana farmers and workers

Bananas are grown by millions of small- scale farmers and plantation workers in tropical regions. They are the staple food for millions of people in developing countries and the favourite fruit in our grocery basket.

Bananas are grown both on small family farms and much larger commercial plantations. The banana industry provides employment for thousands of people in Latin America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and West Africa. It generates vital foreign exchange earnings that governments depend on to improve health, education, infrastructure and other social services.

The Windward Islands, for example, traditionally earn around a fifth of their total export earnings from bananas. The industry also employs thousands of people in distribution networks and supermarkets worldwide.

The trade in bananas is a cornerstone of many developing countries’ economies, but the social problems in the industry are many and complex. Reports often highlight the woefully poor situation of workers: low wages, precarious employment, restrictions on the right to organise themselves and the handling of unhealthy and environmentally hazardous chemicals without adequate protection, to name a few.

For smallholder farmers dependent on growing bananas for a living, challenges include the rising costs of production but stagnation in prices, and the severe impacts of changing climate and weather patterns making production unpredictable.

Why Fairtrade matters

Fairtrade works to support both banana farmers and workers employed on plantations. The vision is to work with the banana trade to create more value for producers and ensure they get a decent price and decent pay for the hard labour that goes into growing our favourite fruit.

Bananas carrying the Fairtrade Mark have been produced by small farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment and payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

Farmers get a better deal when they sell their crops on Fairtrade terms. This leads to a more stable income, meaning they can feed their children and send them to school. It allows them to develop better farming methods, to invest in clean water and to improve the health of whole communities.

The Co-op leads the way

The Co-op supported the launch of Fairtrade in the UK and for 20 years has helped develop the market to become the world’s largest. They were the first UK supermarket to sell Fairtrade bananas – today all of their bananas are Fairtrade. They launched the world’s first own brand product to carry the Fairtrade Mark, through entire own brand category switches – including sugar, tea, hot chocolate, bananas, roses, winter blueberries and even cotton wool.

Consumer choice

Cheap food on the high street often means someone else is paying the price. Low incomes in developing countries keep farmers in poverty. This leads to poor healthcare and dangerous working conditions. Would people still love a bargain if we brought these problems closer to home?

Choose Fairtrade because farmers deserve a fair price.

For more information go to: www.fairtrade.org.uk

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