Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Happy Birthday Fairtrade Foundation’s 25th Birthday

This year marks a special year for Fairtrade as it’s the Fairtrade Foundation’s 25th birthday and it’s also Traidcraft’s 40th birthday. Perhaps later in the year we can mark these events suitably, but for now I would just like to say a big “thank you” for continuing to support the Fairtrade stall and Traidcraft’s work. If you’re looking for Easter eggs, please also look out for the Fairtrade mark.

This year, the Fairtrade Foundation continues to focus on the “She Deserves Campaign”, which it began last year. This looks at women in food production, who often do most of the work, but are not financially rewarded in the same way as men. I’ve included some case studies about chocolate and coffee production below and how Fairtrade is helping in the coronavirus crisis.

So thank you to all of you who regularly support the Fairtrade stall and look for Fairtrade when you are out shopping; know that your money helps support many Fairtrade cooperatives around the world. Over the past year, with the monthly Fairtrade stalls at church, as well as the Spring Fair, Eco Fair and Christmas Fair at the home of Leigh Road Baptist Church, Leigh-on-Sea, you’ve helped raise a fantastic £1,310.62, all of which has gone straight back into purchasing more Traidcraft and Fairtrade items for the stall, so on behalf of Fairtrade farmers and artisans – a huge thank you!

How Fairtrade is helping in the coronavirus crisis

Many farmers and agricultural workers in the global South are already beginning to feel the economic effects of COVID-19. In response, the Fairtrade Standards Committee issued new guidance on 27 March 2020 that apply to all types of Fairtrade-certified producers, from small-scale farmer co-operatives to larger farms with a hired workforce.

The new guidance enables Fairtrade-certified producer organisations to make decisions and act quickly to keep farmers and workers safe or provide needed extra income during this uncertain time.

The Story behind chocolate

This year Fairtrade’s nationwide ‘She Deserves’ campaign highlights the hidden inequality experienced by the women and girls behind the multi-billion global chocolate industry. In West Africa, where 60% of the world’s cocoa is grown, the average woman cocoa farmer earns as little as 23p a day.

Fairtrade’s industry-leading standards, innovative programmes and ground-breaking research are changing this for those in Fairtrade Cooperatives. Fairtrade is striving towards equality for women and is enabling women farmers to earn better incomes and become leaders in their fields.

The Story behind coffee

In rural Kenya, women typically do an estimated 70% of the work in the home and on the farms, but until recently only men received any form of payment.

A few male members in a Fairtrade cooperative in the Nandi Hills in Kenya set up the “Women In Coffee” scheme whereby husbands give a minimum of 50 coffee bushes (around 25% of what they own) to their wives. This means women can now register as members of cooperative societies, open bank accounts and receive a direct income for the work they do.

Fairtrade studies have also shown generally that when more income goes to women, the whole community benefits, as women are more likely to spend their money on the welfare of their children or other dependants.

They can also spend Fairtrade Premium funds more flexibly to minimise the spread of disease, such as by purchasing and distributing face masks or other personal protective equipment, or by implementing health and hygiene campaigns.

In Côte d’Ivoire, despite carrying out 68% of the labour, which involves planting and harvesting, hacking cocoa pods, fermenting, drying and bagging up the cocoa beans, as well as domestic duties at home, women have fewer rights than men, get less money than men and are often landless.

The “Women In Coffee” scheme has been so successful there are now more than 500 smallholder women coffee farmers, who own an average of 250 coffee bushes each. The women coffee farmers are now producing almost double the amount of coffee cherries per bush than men, and this increase in productivity continues to rise. Plus, more than 70% of the coffee they produce is now of premium quality because of their hard work and dedication.