How Fairtrade transforms communities, gives a voice to workers and a future to children
22 June 2018
In the UK, Fairtrade products are readily available in shops, supermarkets and cafes and so for many, buying Fairtrade has become a part of the weekly shop. But sometimes it’s good to be reminded why. This week Fortin Bley, a cocoa producer from Côte d'Ivoire, told our European Parliament Fairtrade Group how the money raised through his Fairtrade cooperative was used to build a school in his village, meaning that his daughters no longer have to walk 8km each way to get to school.
In less than 6 years, participation in Fairtrade schemes across Côte d'Ivoire has gone from 9000 participants to an estimated 160,000 agricultural workers. Mr Bley switched to Fairtrade because it means a guaranteed price for his cocoa and a range of other benefits, including more control of the use of pesticides and working conditions in general. He also spoke about how women farmers were being given a voice through the scheme and access to maternity care and other rights. The new school was built using Fairtrade dividend which is paid into a community fund controlled by the members of the cooperative.
This is why schemes like Fairtrade are so vital, they not only safeguard employment but provide a future for the entire community.
Fortin Bley is the President of the CANN Cocoa Cooperative in Côte d’Ivoire and the Chair of the Fairtrade Western Africa Network.