RACHEL HICKS: Everyone should have the best opportunity to make a decent living

Cllr Tina Ellis, Cllr Louise Clubley, Rachel Hicks, Cllr Pam Bryant, Cllr Susan Bayford, Cllr Brian Bayford and Cllr Sean Woodward at the Fareham Fairtrade stall
Cllr Tina Ellis, Cllr Louise Clubley, Rachel Hicks, Cllr Pam Bryant, Cllr Susan Bayford, Cllr Brian Bayford and Cllr Sean Woodward at the Fareham Fairtrade stall
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The chairman of Fareham Fairtrade and member of St John’s Church, Fareham, on the importance of making Fairtrade choices

If you knew that buying a particular product helped to exploit someone, you would probably be outraged and decide to buy something else.

Actually, many of the things that we love to eat, drink and wear are produced by farmers in developing countries who aren’t paid a fair price for what they do.

It saddens me to think that however hard they work, they still aren’t paid enough to provide decent food, education or healthcare for their families or to invest in better farming.

One way to make sure farmers are getting a good deal is to choose products with the Fairtrade Mark. This guarantees they are paid a fair wage for the work they do.

In Fareham, our Fairtrade Borough group has been calling on the local community to open their doors to Fairtrade products during Fairtrade Fortnight, which has just finished.

Our group hosted a stand in Fareham Shopping Centre, at which shoppers were invited to ‘Come On In’ and see the difference choosing Fairtrade makes, by supporting farmers working hard for a fairer deal to bring resilience and hope to their communities.

Visitors to the stall, who included the deputy mayor of Fareham Cllr Susan Bayford, the executive leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward and several other councillors, were also invited to dive in to our big banana bran tub.

I believe that whether you are in the UK, Panama or anywhere else, everyone should have the best opportunity to make a decent living.

Simple choices like our morning cup of tea or coffee can be the difference between fair wages and poor living standards for farmers.

If we don’t consider the impact of these choices, we may unconsciously be feeding exploitation.

In Fareham, we have been campaigning for 13 years and have seen what a difference it can make around the world. Yet still not enough people are choosing Fairtrade and not enough farmers are benefiting.

We need everyone in the community to get behind Fairtrade.

So, I urge you to choose Fairtrade when you next shop, or ask your local store to stock Fairtrade products. For details, visit fairtrade.org.uk/fortnight or contact me on 01329 312895 or chair@fftb.org.uk.