Does your chocolate bar come at a fair price? Can we improve the lives of the farmers who grown the cocoa? That’s the challenge for Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from Monday 24 February - Sunday 8 March.
Sue James from the local Fairtrade group says: “This year we are campaigning for a living income for cocoa farmers in West Africa and sharing the stories of West African farmers who supply about 60% of our cocoa but live on an average of 75p a day. This is way below what they need as even the extreme poverty line is £1.40 a day. We’re particularly concerned about women because they do most of the work and are particularly exploited.
“We know the UK public do not want poverty and exploitation to be part of the price of their chocolate bars. Shoppers are asking more questions about where their products come from, and how the people involved were treated and paid”.
Buying goods with the Fairtrade mark means that the producers get more than the current world market price plus a premium to spend in their own community on schools, wells or clinics – whatever they decide.
But Fairtrade is about a lot more than price. Producers have to keep to high standards for health and safety and protecting the environment and it’s important that women are involved at all levels. Child labour is definitely out. A big problem now is our changing climate which can be disastrous for farmers, especially if they are only growing one product. Fairtrade organisations are helping farmers to cope with climate change by experimenting with more resistant crops and diversifying into new areas.
Everyone can help. Don’t forget the power you have as consumers - just choose Fairtrade every time and let shops know the changes you’d like to see.
And help celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight. It’s easy to organise a tea party or coffee morning or a chocolate tasting, using Fairtrade products and you can get posters from the Fairtrade Foundation or download some short films from their website http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/ You could also contact one of the local groups (Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and Gosport) for ideas and help. You can find links to them all on http://www.campaign.exchange/campaigns/support-fairtrade/