Saturday, 5 March 2016

Life changing stories of Fairtrade premium told in Leigh-on-Sea

A great afternoon meeting inspirational Kenyan Fairtrade Tea Farmer Patrick, at Oasis The Coffee House, Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea with the Fairtrade Foundation producer tour. 

Patrick spoke about how the Fairtrade premium has helped his community build a school to give children a future, and a maternity hospital with rural ambulance, helping to save lives, as well as stemming land degradation by helping to plant more trees to stop the soil washing away and helping to prevent flooding. Tangible sustainable development occurring as a result of consumers choosing Fairtrade in this country. 

Such a lovely man, whose enthusiasm for Fairtrade was contagious.

Giving people a Hope and a Future this is what Fairtrade is all about. Choose Fairtrade People!

Friday, 26 February 2016



When: FRIDAY 4 MARCH 2016, 3-4 PM

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 we are very excited to be bringing Fairtrade Tea Producer Patrick Kaberia Muthaura from Kenya to Oasis The Coffee House, Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea.

Patrick of the Michimikuru Tea Company will give a short presntation on the difference Fairtrade makes to him and his family and community. There will also be time to aks questions and chat with others form the Fairtrade Foundation in the comfortable surroundings of the Lounge at Oasis The Coffee House.

All are welcome, please share this event. Space is limited so it will be a first come first served affair due to space.

Patrick Kaberia Muthaura has been farming tea for 24 years, ever since he left school, but his relationship with tea goes back further still. Growing up in the Nyambene hills, near Mount Kenya, Patrick’s father was an employee of the then Nyambene Tea Company, which previously owned Michimikuru tea estate and factory until both were bought by small scale farmers to create the Michimikuru Tea Company.

Patrick, who is married with three children aged 10, 6 and 3, has a two acre tea farm of his own, and has held various positions at Michimikuru giving him a wide knowledge of tea and the company operations. He is currently employed as a Tea Extension Assistant in the Field Services Department, which advises farmers on how to improve their farm practices, and how to grow and handle tea.
Patrick has also been elected to represent workers on the Fairtrade Premium committee for Michimikuru, as well as acting as Chairman of a Workers’ Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO), and elected trustee of a pension fund for staff of the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) who are contracted to provide management and secretarial support to Michimikuru Tea Company.

Michimikuru Tea Company...
Michimikuru Tea Company was established and began operating in 1964. The factory was established by Eastern Produce Kenya Limited (EPK) in the early 1960s under the name Nyambene Tea Company limited with its own farm of 260 hectares called Michimikuru Tea Estate. The factory also used to buy some green tea leaves from small scale farmers in the area. The factory and the estate were bought from EPK by the small scale tea farmers in 1994, and the estate, leaf base and factory merged under the name Michimikuru Tea Company Limited. The Kenya Tea Development Agency KTDA has been contracted to give management and secretarial services through a team of management staff posted to the company.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Did you know it's responsible business week Southend-on-Sea?

Did you know it’s Responsible Business Week? It’s the perfect opportunity to take your support for Fairtrade into the office and become a Fairtrade Workplace of World Changers.

You just need to offer to offer Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar to staff and visitors your office (or workshop or building site or factory). If you’re a Fairtrade workplace superstar and already do this, great news! You can register and download a range of posters and other materials to publicise your fantastic commitment!

If you aren’t quite there yet you can use our National Purchasing Guide to source fantastic Fairtrade products. Most suppliers already carry a number of Fairtrade lines so it’s even easier than you think.

Not convinced yet? Find out the different that you and your colleagues could make could make if you all drank Fairtrade coffee by using our impact calculator. It crunches the numbers so you can see the lasting change your workplace could be making for farmers, workers and their communities when you choose Fairtrade products. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Southend-on-Sea Fairtrade Fortnight 23 February - 8 March 2015

We need your support for Fairtrade Fortnight 2015.

Fairtrade Fortnight is coming - 23 February - 8 March 2015! Here you’ll find everything you need to get your community involved.

We’ve come so far since the first Fairtrade Fortnight in 1995, educating the public on why to choose Fairtrade and increasing sales on Fairtrade terms for marginalised producers. Over the past 20 years, together we’ve made the Fairtrade mark the biggest and best known ethical label in the UK.

78% of the UK public recognise the FAIRTRADE Mark.

From UK sales alone, £26m of Fairtrade Premium was invested by producers in 2013.

But we know there is still a long way to go to make all trade fair – just 1.2% of cocoa and less than 10% of tea globally is traded on Fairtrade terms.

So for Fairtrade Fortnight 2015, we’re going to celebrate the impact of Fairtrade and ask you to turn a spotlight on the producers who grow the products we love. By sharing their stories in a fresh and compelling way, we can remind the UK of the dramatic difference choosing Fairtrade makes and how much it is still needed.

We’re focusing on a few core commodities – cocoa, sugar, and tea – in new materials, case studies and a brand new 15 minute film that will be available for Fairtrade Fortnight.

Whether you’re an individual or part of a Fairtrade group, there will be opportunities to take action – including asking businesses directly to switch to Fairtrade in a stock it challenge.

Let us know what you are doing for Fairtrade Fortnight either by emailing us on or commenting below or posting on our Facebook page - or by Tweeting us on @SOSFairtrade

To find out more about how you can get involved and to get resources visit the Fairtrade Foundation website -

Friday, 11 April 2014

Foncho says don't give up

Foncho recently visited Southend-on-Sea and he implores us to not give up.

We’ve got some good news, some bad news and importantly a huge thank you. We’re now at 50,000 petition signatures and our campaign has the support of 45 cross-party MPs. Thank you for the actions you have taken to increase awareness of the plight of banana farmers and workers.

We all know that the brutal and futile retail battles are unsustainable for everyone: consumers at home and farmers and workers in developing countries. If our retailers can’t or won’t act it is up to the government to take action. We are deeply disappointed that Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, is trying to pass the buck. In his response to our campaign, he says he supports Fairtrade’s work and believes that businesses must take a long-term view in the interests of suppliers and consumers. However, he believes the market is working for consumers who get cheap bananas and makes no suggestions as to how UK regulators will uphold the rights of banana farmers.

Why is the government putting the rights of consumers to cheap food above the rights of banana producers to earn a fair price for their produce? This simply isn’t good enough when 75% of banana workers in Ecuador currently do not earn a living wage, and many of them live below the poverty line.

On top of that, our survey says that UK consumers don’t want these price wars carried out ‘in their name.’ A massive 84% of consumers across the UK are willing to pay more for their bananas if the extra benefits farmers and workers’ lives, and 60% of consumers believe the government should step in to ensure supermarkets sell bananas at a price so producers can earn a decent living.

We need to pile the pressure on Vince Cable as much as we can ahead of World Fair Trade Day on May 10th to make our voices heard loud and clear.

What can you do to help?

If you have ONE minute: please sign and share our petition to make bananas fair and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

If you have FIVE minutes: contact your MP by letter asking him or her to write to Vince Cable calling on him to protect banana farmers and workers like Foncho. Download the template letter here, fill in the highlighted gaps and pop it in the post to your local MP. (We know that signed letters posted to MPs from constituents are more likely to get a reply than emails)

Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do - together we will make bananas fair.

Jonathan Smith & Kevin McCullough
Heads of Campaigns, Fairtrade Foundation

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Meeting Foncho with Southend High School For Boys

SHSB Meet Foncho
SHSB and others meet Fonchco
Photo: Echo Newspapers

Tired, but enthused by the response he was getting, Foncho, a banana farmer from Cienaga Colombia, greeted a hall packed full of 11 -17 year old schoolboys with these words,
“Thank you for allowing me to be with you, to visit a school so committed to Fairtrade. It makes me very proud to be a Fairtrade Farmer. If it was not for people like you we would not have the opportunities we have in my community today.”
The school in question, Southend High School for Boys, has been a Fairtrade school for many years. The pupil’s Fairtrade committee decided it would be great to see if they could get a partner to speak at an assembly in Fairtrade Fortnight and were lucky enough to find they were part of Foncho’s speaking tour. He has already been to speak to people in the UK Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Wells Cathedral. In Southampton, he visited the dock where the banana boats berth. Scotland was beckoning following this event.

The Fairtrade committee had also arranged a Fairtrade Bake off and a chocolate sale during the week. Fairtrade is discussed and explored through Ethics and Politics lessons as well as being part of the Religious Education syllabus. During a pre assembly informal gathering, Foncho spoke to many of the boys and was very impressed with their level of understanding. He explained how he would have loved to have received the education they are getting and told them to look after their school and teachers as children in Columbia do not have these opportunities. As well as farming bananas, Foncho sits on an education committee set up by his local cooperative to work with children. Fairtrade has changed his way of thinking. He is more aware of his environmental and educational responsibilities and the needs of his community.

This is Foncho’s first visit to the United Kingdom. He said the country was beautiful but it was the people whom he has met that made it more beautiful. He is the face of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight new campaign Make Bananas Fair. This campaign is asking the UK public to help end the supermarket price wars, including a petition asking the government to urgently step in and investigate the impact of retailer pricing practices. When asked what they could do, Foncho told the school,
“Please buy Fairtrade bananas and support the campaign by signing the petition. Ask supermarkets to do something about the prices they give the banana growers and explain why it is not fair they get so little. Fairtrade makes a big difference to the farmers and their families.”
You can learn more about Foncho in the video produced by the Fairtrade Foundation at

Article by Linda Mead

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Fairtrade Sourcing Programs

You may have seen Fairtrade International’s recent announcement launching Fairtrade Sourcing Programs (FSP): a new approach to connecting businesses with producers in sourcing Fairtrade cocoa, sugar and cotton on Fairtrade terms. This briefing explains what it might mean for us here in the UK and you can also read more on Fairtrade International's website. The Food Programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday discussed the future of Fairtrade including FSP, and we look forward to discussing the challenges producers face, and how Fairtrade can respond and stay innovative in this, our 20th anniversary year