It’s been another great year for Fairtrade Fortnight!
We’d like to thank you all, as ever, for your support and your willingness to get involved. We’ve had so many great conversations with our customers over the last couple of weeks, and welcomed many new faces into the shop too. We’re always so excited to see the message of fair trade spreading.
However, despite a general feeling that fair trade is now widely known about, raising awareness is still vital – and pushing that awareness to become action, even more so! So what better focus than the theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight – bananas! Probably the most ‘obvious’ of all fairtrade products yet there is still a problem at the heart of the banana industry. From the Fairtrade Foundation website-
“As global exports have grown, many banana farmers and workers have seen their earnings cut in real terms. Shockingly, the UK supermarket sector has almost halved the shelf price of loose bananas in the last 10 years even though the cost of producing bananas has doubled. We typically now pay 11p for a loose banana compared to 20p for a loose UK grown apple.
Most supermarkets battle each other every day through a highly-competitive and bitter price war driven by their desire to get more customers into their stores. So they can offer us cheap bananas, supermarkets use their massive buying power to keep the price they pay for them as low as possible. Unfortunately this can put pressure on their suppliers and on banana farmers and workers.”
Enter Foncho – a banana farmer from Colombia who toured around the UK during Fairtrade Fortnight to raise awareness and to push for changes. You can read more about this by clicking here.
Foncho came to Wales and spoke at the Wales Millennium Centre this week. Jan was able to attend this event and found it very inspiring. Foncho shared that his co-operative is able to sell 65% of their bananas through fairtrade. However, somewhat surprisingly, he added that they would rather keep it at 65% than 100%, if it meant other people could set up co-ops and sell 65% of their bananas through fair trade too. His unselfish, community-minded attitude shone through in his talk.
We’ve also enjoyed a visit from two Ghanaian cocoa farmers, Mavis and Mercy, who work for Divine Chocolate.
They spent some time with us in the shop before attending our event at Chapter Arts Centre last week to celebrate a decade of Cardiff as a fairtrade city. This event was a great success, with short films, talks and chocolate tastings – the new flavours from Divine have been very popular!
It was great to hear about Mavis & Mercy’s life as cocoa farmers – they talked of their appreciation for the money that goes into their local communities (money that comes from a premium when we buy fairtrade). Mercy mentioned that her daughter is now at Univeristy – something they could not have dreamed of without the extra money that comes from fairtrade.
Mavis and Mercy have continued on a small tour of the UK, including meeting with several MPs in Parliament.
Another visitor to the UK and to the shop was Taysir Arbasi of Zaytoun. Taysir was with us for Fairtrade Fortnight two years ago and it was great to meet with him again. Taysir spent an hour with Year 12 at Ysgol Plasmawr talking about the pressures the farmers face in Palestine to grow their produce for export. It is crucial, as it is helping to grow their economy for the future. Taysir was interviewed for Ffeil on S4C, and also recorded a short message in Canton that you can see on our Facebook page here.
And finally, we’ve already mentioned the wonderful time we had in the centre of Cardiff for the St David’s Day parade, but it can’t hurt to see this picture again! (And head to our facebook page here if you want to see a short video clip of our singing bananas!)
Thank you again for your support, let’s get planning for next year!