Remember the Producers in Fairtrade Fortnight

Churches, schools, business and individuals are being urged to remember the producers this Fairtrade Fortnight, a Life and Work magazine story reports.

Rahel Mhabuka, a tea worker at Kibena Tea Estate in Tanzania.
Rahel Mhabuka, a tea worker at Kibena Tea Estate in Tanzania. Photo: Simon Rawles

The annual celebration of Fairtrade, which runs from February 27 – March 12, is happening during what the Fairtrade Foundation calls ‘one of the most uncertain years for a generation when it comes to trade’.

No-one is sure what the trade renegotiations in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union will mean for farmers and workers in poor countries; and the ongoing downwards pressure on price from supermarkets continues to impact on the vulnerable producers at the opposite end of the supply chain.

In its action guide for the Fortnight, the Fairtrade Foundation states: “It’s more crucial than ever that the voices of farmers and workers are heard – to combat the risk of undoing the progress of the past two decades of Fairtrade, and putting farmers in an even worse position in the future.

“The simple fact we need to get across to as many people as possible this Fairtrade Fortnight is this: that many of the farmers and workers who grow our food aren’t getting paid fairly.

“And the problem is closer to home than people might think.

“Thousands of farmers in countries such as Malawi, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire all contribute to the tea, coffee and cocoa we enjoy in the UK. And yet many of those farmers are still living in poverty.”

The Foundation calls on Fairtrade supporters to raise awareness by holding events at church or work and by getting the local media to take an interest (among the resources is a brand new guide to holding a press stunt) and sharing on social media.

Churches are also being asked to make Fairtrade the theme of their worship, and a separate churches action guide [pdf] includes readings, prayers and sermon notes for Sundays February 26 (which is the last Sunday before Lent), March 5 and 12.

Visit the Fairtrade Foundation website for resources, event packs and merchandise.

This article was written for and first appeared in Life and Work magazine.