Fairtrade Fortnight 2023’s theme focussed on how the climate crisis endangers the future of some of the planet’s most beloved food products (bananas, chocolate and coffee) and the livelihoods of the farmers and agricultural workers who grow them.
Unseasonal and unpredictable weather, storms, floods, droughts and increased plant diseases are making it hard for farmers to continue farming. Many low-income farmers do not have the resources to invest in recovery and adaptation. Many are leaving farming and their children are seeking alternatives.
Fairtrade Certification offers farmers hope: a guaranteed minimum price allows them to earn a living income; an additional Premium Payment which they can choose to spend on improving their businesses, their communities and their environment. Training programmes which advise on sustainable farming methods, tree planting and soil improvement are resulting in higher and better-quality yields and healthy plants more resilient to diseases. Farmers can see a future with Fairtrade.
This short (5 minutes) video about banana farmers in Colombia illustrates how Fairtrade is helping them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_bBWAgKWBg
And in this one a coffee farmer in Kenya explains how climate change is affecting his vegetable crops: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rR0YqhDmIw
Fairtrade Ambassador, and cocoa farmer, Deborah Osei-Mensah, said to world leaders at COP 27:
“If cocoa is not profitable for farmers, they will look elsewhere to source the income they need. They’ll move to industrialisation – they might sell their land to mines, to manufacturers.
But once they are getting fair prices, farmers will protect their farm. Farmers use the Fairtrade Premium to contribute to their communities. If they feel they are being supported, they can invest in the future of food security.”
Gosport Fairtrade Action campaigners, including Sarah Hirom, who is also a member of GFFOE, highlighted these issues during Fairtrade Fortnight at a Fairtrade tea party, hosted by the Mayor, for local environmental activists including GFFOE’s Lesley Goddard.
GFA also had displays in the Discovery Centre, the Town Hall and Elson Community Library and Hub where they talked to the Sewing Group and the Senior Moments Coffee Morning (with coffee and chocolate tasting) about Fairtrade and endangered products. A key message is that whatever your budget and wherever you shop, when you choose Fairtrade, you support farmers to care for the environment through the Fairtrade Price, Premium and Programmes.
Sarah Hirom, GFA Co-ordinator, said: “We can all play a part. The future survival of the world’s most popular foods – such as bananas, cocoa, and coffee – depends upon the achievement of inclusive and equitable climate solutions. Farmers, who did little to cause the climate crisis, in all fairness, need help to address the consequences. We need to encourage our Government to support them, through the Loss and Damage Fund agreed internationally last year and helpful trade agreements.”.
The last word to goes to Deborah Osei Mensah:
“I want every one of us to be more conscious of the products we buy. Together, let’s make the future fair. Let’s buy more Fairtrade. Let’s advocate for producers across the globe to make sure we have a fair future for each and everyone.”