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Going bananas at the Fairtrade breakfast.

A tasty breakfast kicks off Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight kicked off with a tasty breakfast on Sunday against a background of dismal prospects for sugar cane producers in developing countries. On the programme are a joint event with Global Justice Now and a wine tasting at the De La Warr. Nick Terdre reports.

This year marks the 20th anniversary since the Fairtrade Foundation was set up to campaign for fairer trade for impoverished producers in developing countries, says Jack Doherty, head of the Bexhill Fairtrade Committee which has organised the fortnight’s events in that town. Hopes that Hastings would be following suit were subsided last year when the steering committee set up to encourage progress towards Fairtrade Town status disbanded.

The Fairtrade Foundation works by putting its money where its mouth is, paying prices which enable small commodity producers to improve their living standards and invest in vital local facilities such as health clinics and schools. Support for the movement remains strong in Bexhill, as witnessed by the 80-90 who attended the Fairtrade breakfast at Our Lady’s Hall in Sidley on the morning of Sunday 22nd. Among them was deputy mayor Stuart Earl, Jack reports.

“Everyone was keen to go bananas for Fairtrade,” says Jack. “The breakfast was yummy banana and fruit bread and cakes, delicious Traidcraft fairbreak biscuits, chunky fruity geobars, traditional Kenyan tea and tasty Columbian coffees with Fairtrade-logo-topped cup cakes and a big celebration 20th birthday Fairtrade cake.

Deputy mayor Stuart Earl cuts the cake celebrating 20 years of Fairtrade.

“As deputy mayor Stuart Earl cut the cake, he congratulated all present, and the wider Bexhill community, for embracing Fairtrade. He emphasised that more and more people are connecting with the producers of our enjoyable and essential foods, on a global and local level – the supermarkets should give a fairer price and priority to the poor farmers from India to Costa Rica to East Sussex.”

On Friday 27th there will be an evening of film and discussion jointly organised with campaigning group Global Justice Now, previously known as the World Development Movement. The films Fairtrade Matters and Seeds of Freedom will be shown and debated, and there will be stalls, refreshment and a free Fairtrade wine tasting. The event will take place at the Church Hall, St Mary Magdalene, opposite Bexhill station. Doors open at 6.30pm and entry is free.

Next week there will be coffee mornings from 10am to noon at Little Phatisserie Café, next to the station, on Tuesday 3rd March and YouNique Wellbeing Studios in Windmill Drive on Friday 6th.

The fortnight closes with a wine tasting at the De La Warr Pavilion at 12-15pm on Sunday 8th, with Fairtrade wines provided by the local Co-operative store. Your view of the sea will be enhanced, Jack says!

The campaigning focus of the fortnight is on tea, cocoa and sugar – small-scale sugar cane producers in particular face a bleak future following the EU’s decision to lift the cap on subsidised sugar beet production in member countries by 2017. The ‘reform’ was supported by the UK government, even though research by its own Department for International Development forecasts that it could push 200,000 people in developing countries into poverty by 2020.

Products traded under the Fairtrade guarantee have achieved a significant penetration in British supermarkets, but the supermarket price war sparked off last year is affecting sales, which were down by 3.7% to £1.67 billion in 2014. While volume sales of Fairtrade tea fell by 1% and cocoa by 2%, there were some bright spots, with bananas up 3% and coffee 2%.

The Fairtrade Foundation continues to work with commercial players, entering into a sustainability partnership with Waitrose – the first of its kind for either party – and securing a commitment from Mars Chocolate UK to acquire all the cocoa for Mars bars in the UK and Ireland from Fairtrade certified sources by next autumn.

Another key event for Bexhill Fairtrade is the Fairtrade Fashion Show, organised in conjunction with Bexhill Sixth Form College. This will be held at the college on Friday 13 March, when fairly traded cotton will be in the spotlight.

 

See also Global Justice Now group relaunches in Bexhill

 

Posted 21:02 Monday, Feb 23, 2015 In: Campaigns

Also in: Campaigns

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