Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 – campaigning for a living income for cocoa farmers
25 February 2019
Today marks the start of Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 – an annual event held every year to promote and celebrate the Fairtrade movement, products and work done to support farmers and producers in the developing world. The fortnight is running between 25 February until 10 March and the focus of this year’s event is to campaign for a living income for cocoa farmers.
The Foundation is focusing specifically on cocoa in Ghana and Cote d’lvoire who account for over 60% of the world’s cocoa production. Currently cocoa producers are not paid an income that is enough to live on to support themselves or a family, according to the Foundation a cocoa farmer in Cote d’lvoire earns an income of less than $1 per day. On top of this, cocoa prices on the world market have been in crisis for a couple of years pushing more farmers into deeper poverty.
I am delighted that the Fairtrade Foundation has chosen to focus on cocoa - a topic I’ve been working on in the European Parliament. A few months ago the Development Committee which I chair held a special hearing on child and forced labour in the cocoa supply chain. What emerged was a consensus between chocolate manufacturers and campaigners that we need new global rules to clean up the cocoa supply chain. The good news is that there are now signs that governments agree and we are working on a new EU initiative on cocoa which could resolve many of the problems. You can read more about this in the Guardian here.
EU Fairtrade Working Group
As you may know, I set up and Chair the European Parliament Fairtrade Working Group and last year we had to opportunity to meet with a coca producer from Cote d’lvoire. Fortin Bley came to speak to our group about how money raised through his local Fairtrade cooperative helped build a school in his village – a great example of why Fairtrade is so vital. You can read more what on Fortin had to say here.
Through the work of this group, I also held interesting discussions last year with several EU Ambassadors - who head the EU offices all over the world - to find out what they are doing to promote Fair Trade on the ground in the countries where they are posted. It was great to hear how they are taking the principles of Fairtrade and incorporating them into the work of EU representation offices around the world through a series of fascinating projects which highlights the EU’s commitment to Fairtrade. You can read more about how EU offices around the world are promoting Fairtrade here.
Linda McAvan with EU Ambassadors
EU’s Fairtrade Cities Award
Last year, there was also another exciting moment for the Fairtrade movement as the EU held its first ever Fairtrade Cities Award. This EU wide award was organised to celebrate and recognise the work of Fairtrade towns and cities across Europe in their work to promote fair and ethical trade. The Belgian city of Ghent became the first winner of this EU Fairtrade Cities Award in June – they were also Belgium’s first Fairtrade city back in 2005. The Fairtrade Cities award is the result of a lot of hard work by the EU Fair Trade Advocacy office and its member organisation working with MEPs from our European Parliament´s Fairtrade Working Group. Read more about the award here.
EU Fairtrade Cities Award, June 2018
You can take part in Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 by hosting an event or doing a fundraiser - such as organising a bake sale in your workplace or local community using Fairtrade chocolate, cake or buns. You can also read more about how you can support the fortnight online here. Fairtrade is also calling on the UK Government to make sure that our trade with developing countries tackles poverty as a priority and ensures a living income for all. The petition goes live today on the start of Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 and you can add your name here.
Linda McAvan at the Fairtrade Yorkshire AGM, September 2018