Promoting Awareness of Fair Trade
Visits by Fair Trade Producers
As part of our work we promote Fair Trade by hosting visits by Fair Trade producers and suppliers.
One such visit was from Sam Magona, a coffee farmer from the Gumutindo Fairtrade Coffee Cooperative in Uganda. Gumutindo produces very high quality coffee.
Sam stressed the benefits that Fairtrade has brought to the cooperative. They receive a stable, guaranteed price for their coffee. This is crucial as the coffee market is particularly prone to fluctuations. Price crashes in the market have resulted in mass poverty for many coffee farmers who don’t have access to Fairtrade markets.
Benefits of Fairtrade
Higher prices paid to the farmers have enabled Gumutindo to build up their business, investing in infrastructure and training. The extra payment has also enabled the farmers to pay for thetraining and certification costs to produce organic certified coffee – better for the environment and a new market for the producers. The coop has also been able to build stores for their coffee and a cupping lab so that the farmers can taste their own coffee – a new experience for many.
Social Benefits of Fairtrade
Gumutindo farmers have been able to fund the following because of the Fairtrade premium payment : Building a secondary school Paying school fees Extending a clinic Protecting natural water sources Repairing roads to make them accessible by truck Providing capital to reduce the need for expensive loans
Sam is the Chairman and one of the driving forces behind Gumutindo. He is a very active figure in his own community. We found him a lively and inspirational figure. We were asked to guess his age and were all wide of the mark by a long way. He refused to reveal his secret in looking so young and dynamic.
Nioka Abbott from the Windward Isles
In 2010 we hosted a visit from Nioka Abbott, a banana farmer from the Windward Islands.
As well as visiting the Fair trade Market and other festival events, Nioka spoke at a public meeting at York St. John University.
She told us how important the Fairtrade movement has been in supporting small scale farming in the Caribbean. In the face of enormous political and commercial opposition from the large trading blocks, Fairtrade has continued to provide a valuable market for small scale farmers.
Sharing With International Partners
As part of the Fair Trade Movement, we often have the opportunity to share with international partners.
On several occasions in recent years we have been honoured to welcome parties of fair trade supporters, and academics, from Japan. Fair Trade in Japan hasn’t yet reached the level it is at in Britain, however sales are accelerating rapidly. Activists in several Japanese cities, including Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, are interested in working towards Fairtrade City status and our visitors are always eager to hear about our experiences in York.
On two occasions now we have welcomed the activist, Yuki Sato. She’s a dynamic figure and a long term supporter of fair trade. We have also welcomed Kobuki Takeshi who is the Secretary general of Samasama, a large fair trade organisation. Most recently we have recieved a visit from Professor Ishikawa, from the Kyoto University of Education, who is conducting research into the feasibility of a large scale roll out of fair trade. They are all hoping the fair trade will be taken into the mainstream in Japan. There is obviously enormous potential.
Events To Promote Fair Trade
Throughout the year, the Forum holds events and information stalls to promote Fair Trade and highlight the range and quality of Fair Trade products that are available. Fairtrade wine tasting One such event was a Fairtrade wine tasting that was held at the Guildhall.We were given a tutored tasting by the wine expert Gareth Morgan. Gareth is a member of the Association of Wine Educators and a keen supporter of Fairtrade wines.
We were delighted to welcome a surprise guest, Rugby League star, Peter Fox. He very much appreciated the range of Fairtrade wines that we tasted. You should be able to find them at Co-op, M & S and major supermarkets.
- Thandi Chardonnay from South Africa
- Pircas Negras, Torrontes from Argentina
- “Live a Little” Shiraz rosé from South Africa
- Thandi Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot from South Africa
- Co-op Fairtrade Chilean Carmenere.
Supporting local Fair Trade businesses
The Fair Trade Forum’s remit includes supporting local Fair Trade businesses. We are very fortunate in York that there a good number of retailers who carry a range of fairly traded goods and many cafes that serve Fairtrade food and drink.
The photo features the visit to the Fairer World shop in Gillygate of Traidcraft tea farmer, Patricia Mtangeli, who is widely known as Mama Fairtrade. Fairer World shop carry the largest range of Fair Trade goods in York – well worth checking out.
Lobbying For Fair Trade
The Forum also lobbies those in power to call for better working conditions and fairer pay for workers in the world’s poorest countries. We speak to local and national politicians, large private corporations and also faith leaders.
We were delighted that the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu gave his unequivocal backing for fair trade. He called on consumers to buy fair trade products and asked large corporations to consider the way they treat the producers on whose produce they depend.
Working with the media
York Fair Trade Forum helps to publicise Fair Trade by working with the media.
As well as the York Press and local radio, we like to explore different angles including York’s student media.
Working with partner organisations
York Fair Trade Forum works with many like-minded organisations. One important partner is the Fair Trade finance company, Shared Interest, who provide loans to Fair Trade producers and suppliers.
It is easy to invest in Shared Interest &, as well as providing vital investment for small scale producers, their financial track record is a great deal more impressive than many of the large banks.
Hugo Villela is based in Costa Rica & looks after Shared Interest’s producer clients in Central America. He came to speak to us in York at an exciting event at the City Screen.
Click on the link here to find out more about Shared Interest.
York Oxfam Campaigns
A local organisation we work closely with is the York branch of Oxfam Campaigns.Oxfam speaks out on many trade issues.
We are currently supporting the Oxfam food campaign, Grow.
Grow has identified 4 issues to address to help fix the broken system – The impact of climate change – Food price fluctuation – Land grabs – The need to support small scale farming. Find out more about Grow here.
Check out the Oxfam website.
Speculation on food prices by large financial institutions has increased price fluctuations. This works to the detriment of producers, particularly small scale farmers in the world’s poorest countries.
Click on the link to the Just York website.