Did you know that since May last year when Gina Cox first started the Fairtrade stall at Leigh Road Baptist Church (LRBC), you’ve helped raise an amazing £598 for Traidcraft Fairtrade farmers and artisans, so a huge Thank You on their behalf for supporting Fairtrade.
Gina said, “I wish to say big thank you for supporting the Fairtrade stall at LRBC, I’ve been so encouraged by so many of you who come over to tell me that you look out for Fairtrade when you are shopping which is fantastic, or that you’ve enjoyed various Fairtrade foods and gifts from the stall.”
At the end of Fairtrade Fortnight the church recommitted to its status as a Fairtrade Church during its Sunday morning worship service. As part of the service we explored the amazing affect that choosing Fairtrade and asking for Fairtrade products makes when we shop. We did this through games, video, prayer and update from Gina on the Fairtrade Foundation and its movement. You can listen to the podcast of the service on our dedicated web page:
Listen here: Lent – 40 Acts Feedback & Fairtrade Fortnight – Deuteronomy 24:14-15
10 Mar 2019 – Sunday AM – Steve TinningD
Also for you here is Gina’s speech.
This year the Fairtrade Foundation wanted to highlight the plight of those who grow the Cocoa for the chocolate that we eat. This year they especially wanted to focus on women farmers and workers. Women plant and harvest on the farm, look after children, collect the water and wood, cook and clean for the family, and transport the cocoa beans to market but so often with far fewer rights, and far less wages than men.
In 2016 the World price for Cocoa crashed, leaving a lot of cocoa farmers struggling to survive, and to pay for basic necessities such as food, education fees and medical care.
The Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest cocoa producer, and 4 million farmers and workers grow cocoa there, much of this cocoa then comes to the UK. And yet, the majority of cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast live below the United Nations poverty line. The Fairtrade Foundation estimate that £1.86 is the amount a cocoa farmer in West Africa needs to earn each day in order to achieve a living income. However currently, a typical cocoa farmer in the Ivory Coast lives on around 74p a day. Almost all cocoa farmers in West Africa who grow the cocoa for the chocolate we eat live in poverty, and many feel that if things do not improve then Cocoa farming is not sustainable and they will need to look for another way to make an income, so if things do not improve we could see cocoa supplies reducing in years to come and possibly as a result less chocolate available.
There are many processes that Cocoa goes through to become the chocolate bars that we know and recognise, there are those that process the cocoa, those that export it, the chocolate companies that make it into the product we recognise and then the retailers that sell it to us, and each person along the way takes a cut of the profit. The Fairtrade Foundation estimate that only 6% of the retail price of an average bar of chocolate actually goes back to the farmer, in comparison around 70% of the retail price goes to the chocolate companies and 17% to the retailers.
Fairtrade helps to redress this imbalance. Fairtrade guarantees a minimum price to farmers for the cocoa they produce, even when world trade prices fluctuate farmers under the Fairtrade scheme know they will still get a set amount per tonne of cocoa produced, and having this stable income helps them to plan more for the future. On top of this Fairtrade certified farmers also get Social Premium money, which is an amount given to each cooperative to spend on the development of their communities, this money will often be spent on healthcare and education projects, building wells, or on training for farmers to help them improve their crop quality and yields especially currently with the challenges of a changing climate. In 2016 £22 million of Fairtrade Premium money was given to Cocoa farmers for these projects.
Fairtrade also helps readdress gender issues ensuring that women get paid the same amount for the same work. Fairtrade helps ensure there is no child slavery or human trafficking on cocoa farms, and helps farmers with training and access to markets, and diversification projects so that farmers are not solely reliant on cocoa.
Because of the benefits that Fairtrade provides many more farmers across the globe would really like to be under the Fairtrade scheme, and be able to sell more of their crop on Fairtrade terms, but that solely depends on the demand for Fairtrade goods and food this end to make this a reality for them.
So there are things we can all do to help, We can think carefully about what we buy, and look out for Fairtrade labelled goods when we are shopping and think about the opportunities we may have to increase Fairtrade at church, at work and at home.
We can tell businesses and government that we want trade to be fair, and we have a petition postcard available on the fairtrade stall calling on the government to make sure our upcoming trade deals with developing countries puts poverty reduction first, so please do take one of those. And finally we can pray for all those people around the world who grow our food, who make our clothes, and produce other things that we consume.
Finally a I wish to say big Thank You for supporting the Fairtrade stall here, Ive been so encouraged by so many of you who come over to tell me that you look out for fairtrade when you are shopping which is fantastic, or that you’ve enjoyed various Fairtrade foods and gifts from the stall.
And since May last year when I first started the Fairtrade stall at Leigh Road, you’ve helped raise an amazing £598 for Traidcraft fairtrade farmers and artisans, so a huge Thank You on their behalf for supporting Fairtrade.