Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin praised local support for Fairtrade products at the Parliamentary launch of a fortnight of events held to back a better deal for farmers from developing countries.
Ms Brabin met farmers from the Ivory Coast, Rwanda and the Dominican Republic at the reception on February 27th as part of Fairtrade Fortnight – an initiative where communities, schools, businesses and faith groups throughout the country are holding events in support of farmers from developing countries.
The Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign She Deserves a Living Income is shining a light on the poverty facing cocoa farmers in West Africa, where 60% of cocoa is grown, who earn as little as 74p per day and are unable to afford essentials like food, medicine or to send their children to school.
Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said: “I am delighted to support Fairtrade Fortnight and the She Deserves a Living Income campaign to celebrate the hard work of women cocoa farmers.
“Batley and Spen was the first Fairtrade constituency in the country and I know there are many people locally who support the widely recognised and trusted accreditation when shopping for Fairtrade chocolate and other goods.
“This support, together with the tireless awareness-raising by local advocates such as Fairtrade Batley and Spen, is helping to secure a much-needed better deal for farmers and workers who often cannot afford even the very basics.”
A new report from the Fairtrade Foundation, launched at the event in Parliament, reveals women cocoa farmers often carry the greatest burden and yet get the least reward.
It calls on the government and businesses to ensure farmers earn living incomes by 2030 in line with the UN’s Global Goals to end poverty.
Awa Traoré, director of Fairtrade cocoa co-operative, CAYAT, said at the event: “Women are very important in the development process.
“If you want to change the lives of producers, you have to focus on women. In our community we use the Fairtrade premium to redress the balance: to train women, to teach them how to read and write to empower them and we have developed activities that create income for them.”
You can support Fairtrade Fortnight by taking part in an event, look for FAIRTRADE products with and sign Fairtrade’s Living Income petition.
To find out more or to get involved in Fairtrade Fortnight visit http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/get-involved/current-campaigns/fairtrade-fortnight