Monthly Archives: March 2020

University of Bath’s Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations 2020 – Part 1 of 3

Barney Smyth; Acting Senior Partnership Manager, Fairtrade Foundation. 1.45 pm.

Explored 2 Questions about Fairtrade.

What makes Fairtrade certification unique?

Why do Fairtrade producers, buyers and end consumers have faith in the Fairtrade logo.

  1. Minimum price for a product e.g. coffee is paid to producers which irons out the world market price peaks and troughs. Eliminating these price fluctuations means that producers can plan ahead, and Fairtrade buyers know that coffee has been grown on Fairtrade terms. Currently Fairtrade farmers are paid $1.40 per pound of coffee. The current world price is between $1.00 and $1.20. This minimum price guarantee is paid when coffee prices rise. The Fairtade price is always 20 cents above the global coffee price. This Fairtrade price covers the costs of sustainable and environmentally friendly production.
  2. Fairtrade farmers and producers receive an additional Fairtrade Premium on top of the selling price. This is usually another 1% of the value of the products. The producer cooperative workers, who know their own needs, can then decide to allocate this funding to:
    – social projects
    – improving community infrastructure
    – Investing in a health centre
    – buying in training and education
    – building schools
    – improving their businesses with new equipment
    – Workers are thus empowered and can take control of their own livelihoods.
  3. The Fairtrade logo is a recognised kitemark and reflects uniform assessment by FLOCERT, the independent WFTO body that assesses farmers; producers; suppliers; traders; and wholesalers that rigorous standards have been met and that regular inspections are made to trace and prove product traceability.

Barney Smith presented some interesting Fairtrade Foundation Statistics –

Fairtrade has been going for over 25years
– 90% of people in the UK recognize the Fairtrade logo
– 87% of people in the UK trust the logo
– 76% of people in the UK care about the third party/independent certification process
– 76% of people in the UK care about Fairtrade producers and farmers
– 76% of people in the UK actively seek and choose Fairtrade products

Why Fairtrade makes such a big difference?

  • Producers and farmers have a guaranteed income
  • They have decent working conditions
  • There is no child or forced labour
  • Men and women receive equal pay, empowering both genders
  • Fairtrade suppliers establish long-term working relationships with producer cooperatives
  • There are social, economic, and environmental benefits of belonging to a Fairtrade cooperative
  • The cost of belonging Fairtrade certified cooperative includes many other benefits such as technical and agricultural training  for farmers and a chance to belong to network groups

Fairtrade Coffee Cooperative Statistics 2019

  • There are 582 Fairtrade coffee cooperatives located in Latin America, Africa, and SE Asia
  • 762,000 farmers growing and selling Fairtrade coffee.
  • 86% of all Fairtrade coffee originates from Central and South America
  • Fairtrade coffee production is worth in excess of 84 million Euros.
  • 18% of Fairtrade coffee growers are women.

In a short accompanying video, one coffee grower stated that “Coffee is our life”, and more farmers need to sell coffee on Fairtrade terms where the environmental costs are factored in to the end price. The guaranteed price of Fairtrade coffee irons out the huge fluctuations in the market price.

“Climate change is a huge threat to livelihoods” but that farmers will have to adapt.

Notes Produced by:
Mike King
Chairman, Wycombe Fairtrade

High Wycombe Fairtrade Churches & Faith Groups “Think Tank” – 7th March 2020

Location: Christ The Servant King Church

Heather Searle from CSK opened the event attended by people from 5 local Wycombe churches by giving a very appropriate sermon on the biblical values of helping people less fortunate than oneself with relevant passages from the Old and New Testaments, transferring those caring and sharing values to the present time and comparing these to the principles promoted by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Margaret Dykes, a local and noted Traidcraft representative and speaker highlighted her experiences of 25 years working with one of the founder members of the Fairtrade organization and her work and projects with schools and churches, promoting the values and dedication that farmers and growers inject into their products. She described what the Fairtrade mark means to producers who are trying to trade their way out of poverty in an economic system which is dominated by large transnational companies who largely adopt unfair business practices.

Angharad Hopkinson, the Fairtrade Churches and Faith Groups Coordinator from the Fairtrade Foundation gave a presentation entitled “Changing the Story”. The talk encompassed biblical passages and themes which related to present day social justice and human rights e.g. “The spoil of the poor are in your houses” (Isaiah 3). She drew attention to the UK chocolate industry currently worth in excess of £4 billion per annum, yet cocoa farmers in the Cote D’Ivoire earn less than $1 per day. She reflected on the verse from Matthew 22 – “You should love your neighbour as yourself”. There were stories from African cocoa farmers like Lucia and Theresa who both lived in extreme poverty until they joined the local Fairtrade Cava Cooperative. Theresa stated that “When I am selling my cocoa through Cava Cooperative, the price is requested (guaranteed)”, and Lucia added that “Cocoa is our hope”. Fairtrade gives people dignity, respect, economic guarantees and the Fairtrade Premium provides schooling and higher education for their children She closed by saying that in a recent report by Oxfam in 2019 entitled, ”Time to Care” –  “The world’s 22 richest men have more combined wealth than all 325 million women in Africa”. A sobering thought!

Maranda St.John Nicolle

Waiting printed notes – No powerpoint

Mike King’s illustrated powerpoint presentation highlighted the threats imposed by climate change to small-scale Fairtrade farmers and producers in developing countries. Drought; floods; desertification; melting glaciers and ice caps; uncertain rainfall; and the increase in greenhouse gases over the last three decades are all impacting on agricultural producers, even though they have not caused the underlying reasons for climate change. However, with years of experience on their land, soil preservation measures, water retention, tree planting, crop diversification, and the introduction of quicker-growing disease resistant seeds and hybrid plants, and the agronomic expertise from Fairtrade; World Coffee Research Institute; IRRI; and World Trade Organisation researchers themselves, small scale farmers are quick to adapt to changing conditions and adopt appropriate technology. With sustainable and organic farming methods predominating, the use of hybrid plants and careful husbandry, farmers are in a position to slow down climate change through these practices by becoming custodians of the land as well as living and working in harmony with nature.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2020 – Wycombe

Events attended and arranged by Wycombe Fairtrade Steering Group 23rd Feb to Sun 7th March

Monday 2nd March 2020.

Mike King attended an event at Bath University jointly sponsored by Bath University; Bewley’s UK; Bristol Link to Nicaragua; and the Students Union of Bath University. There were a series of presentations and talks by  Rob Smyth, from the Fairtrade Foundation about the current situation on Fairtrade coffee; a female coffee grower from the Nicaraguan Fairtrade coffee producer SOPPEXCCA, a union of 18 coffee cooperatives. Gloria focused on the challenges to female coffee growers and their resilience and invention to develop new products through adversity. Louise Whitaker from Bewley’s UK, a national wholesaler and coffee roaster., gave a very informative address looking at the valuable role women play in Fairtrade, and especially in the growing of coffee and developing community spirit and harmony and even becoming managers of their own coffee land and developing their own sidelines, diversifying the economy anas well as ensuring money was funding local education, health, and social projects.

Thursday 5th March 2020

This Traidcraft Coffee Boffin Quiz  took place at the Christ The Servant King Church, Open Door Cafe for retired people and those with learning difficulties. The Quiz was well received with 25 to 30 people working in small groups and teams. Sustained by Fairtrade coffee, tea , and biscuits, the groups were very engaged and improved their knowledge of coffee varieties, the many hazards of growing coffee, and the wide diversity of flavours. The first three winners received Fairtrade chocolate, biscuits and of course. Fairtrade coffee.

Sunday 8th March 2020

Traidcraft stall run by Sheena and Mike King raised over £500.00 as well as selling and taking orders for Fairtrade Meaningful Chocolate Company Easter eggs. As usual the clergy and the parishioners were very supportive of the Fairtrade cause and bought a range of goods. Fairtrade bamboo socks were very popular.

Saturday 7th March 2020

Christ The Servant king Church in conjunction with the Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group  hosted a “Fairtrade Churches and Fairth Groups Think Tank” event from 10.30am to 1.00 pm. The purpose was to encourage members from other church groups to think about Fairtrade in its wider and deeper aspects, especially what the scriptures say about helping the poor and those in need. Corona virus threats and a conflicting church event in High Wycombe meant that only around 24 people attended from 5 different churches. Heather Searle led a 20-minute service and gave a very pertinent talk about people help themselves with a little encouragement. Speakers ranged from Margaret Dykes talking about her Traidcraft experiences over 25 years; Angharad Hopkinson, focusing on how to “Change the Story” of poverty using biblical references  from Isaiah 3 and Matthew 22. Two female cocoa farmers stated that Fairtrade had through the local Cava Cooperative, a sense of dignity, guaranteed incomes, and the chance to invest in health and education for their children. It was a message of hope. Maranda St John Nicolle echoed this hope by relating her perspectives and experiences in her tours of Southern Africa representing Christian Concern for One World. It is a Christian duty to help others and a theme promoted by other world religions. Finally Mike King looked at the current and future affects of climate change upon small-scale Fairtrade farmers in developing countries, both the negative and positive, and their responses to this in adapting decades of local knowledge of the land while applying appropriate technology. Although small in numbers, people seemed to have been informed and understood the deeper and wider social, economic, ecological, cultural and religious aspects that Fairtrade encompasses.

We would like to see

  • More Churches and Faith Groups in High Wycombe apply to the Fairtrade Foundation for registering as a Fairtrade Church/Faith Group.
  • Engage with more young people from a variety of faiths to get involved with Fairtrade projects, maybe in relation to schools.
  • More churches to have sessions like this or repeat them every one or two years.
  • Liaise more with and utilize online resources from the Churches and Faith Groups Coordinator from the Fairtrade Foundation.
  • Work with other churches in Wycombe to broaden the understanding of Fairtrade and what it means to the produces and farmers.
  • In trying to link the Fairtrade Towns of Wycombe and Grecia (Costa Rica), work towards linking some churches and congregations together.

Mike King
Chairman, Wycombe Fairtrade