York Central MP Rachael Maskell backs Fairtrade Fortnight campaign for cocoa farmers
More than 70 Members of Parliament met farmers from the Ivory Coast, Rwanda and the Dominican Republic at a reception in Parliament on Wednesday 27 th February as part of Fairtrade Fortnight.
The Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign She Deserves a Living Income is shining a light on the poverty facing cocoa farmers in West Africa, where 60% of cocoa is grown, who earn as little as 74p per day and are unable to pay for essentials like food, send their children to school or buy medicine if they fall sick.
A new report from the Fairtrade Foundation, launched at the event in Parliament, reveals women cocoa farmers often carry the greatest burden and yet get the least reward. It calls on the government and businesses to ensure farmers earn living incomes by 2030 in line with the UN’s Global Goals to end poverty.
Awa Traoré Bamba, who is also the director of Fairtrade cocoa co-operative, CAYAT, gave an inspirational speech about how a living income of £1.86 could transform the lives of cocoa farmers, and why it is vital to empower women. Ms Traoré Bamba said: “Women are very important in the development process. If you want to change the lives of producers, you have to focus on women. In our community we use the Fairtrade premium to redress the balance: to train women, to teach them
how to read and write to empower them and we have developed activities that create income for them.”