Fairtrade growth is encouraging but ‘we can always do more’ say campaigners

From left, event organiser Sarah Hirom and ayor of Gosport Cllr Diane Furlong with representatives of Southern Co-Op. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
From left, event organiser Sarah Hirom and ayor of Gosport Cllr Diane Furlong with representatives of Southern Co-Op. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
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AWARENESS of Fairtrade products is reaching an all-time high in the Solent region – but it’s important to keep pushing for fairer deals for producers.

That was the message across Hampshire during Fairtrade Fortnight, as campaigners rally people to support Fairtrade products as much as they can.

In Gosport, the town’s Fairtrade Action group held a special event at the Discovery Centre on Saturday, inviting people to come and find out more about what Fairtrade represents, as well as how they can support the ongoing campaign to get companies on board.

The theme for this year’s campaign has been to get a better deal for women growing the cocoa needed for West Africa’s thriving cocoa industry – where 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa is produced.

Gosport Fairtrade Action’s coordinator, Sarah Hirom, says that showing people why Fairtrade is needed across the world is the best way to inspire action.

She explained: ‘Talking to people today, the response has been incredibly positive.

‘People are aware that Fairtrade exists but perhaps don’t know what it does for farmers and so on, so explaining it to them like this is a great way to bring about change.

‘The Fairtrade Foundation’s current campaign is bringing a fairer price to cocoa farmers in West Africa, where a large number of workers are women; without a fair pay they are in a constant battle to support their families and their communities.’

In the past decade, the number of food manufacturers under the Fairtrade Foundation’s umbrella has grown rapidly.

Co-Op, Aldi and Waitrose are just some of the supermarkets that have adopted Fairtrade products – but Gosport Fairtrade Action says that there is always more that can be done.

Sarah said: ‘To have big companies on board with the Fairtrade Foundation is pretty great, but there are still some supermarkets could do more.

‘The Fairtrade Foundation offers a good model for how all food trade should be done.’

The mayor of Gosport, Cllr Diane Furlong, says its important that people take on the lessons learned during Fairtrade Fortnight.

She said: ‘I think its very important that we do what we can to fight for a living wage for women working in the food industry across the world.

‘The food is as good in quality as the big brand stuff – especially things like the chocolate and wine.

‘We could all shop with Fairtrade in mind a bit more.’