How climate change is affecting Fairtrade farmers

Fairtrade fortnight has arrived and it’s the perfect time to get involved with our campaign and speak out for justice in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities.

Farmers work tirelessly to grow our food while also living in some of the poorest countries in the world and often being exploited and badly paid. On top of all that, another issue is affecting the farmers – climate change.

Fairtrade ensures the world’s poorest growers and producers are able to earn a decent living and earn a premium they can put back into their communities, which becomes a challenge when climate change comes into the picture. Many crops are being lost and farmers are struggling to adapt to climate change which is damaging their livelihoods and well-being. These people living in rural areas have contributed very little to climate change but they’re the ones being affected the most.

Aileen Burmeister, National Coordinator for Fair Trade Wales said:

“Farmers and workers are paying the price twice over for our demands for cheap goods. Firstly, by not being paid fairly for their hard work, and secondly through uncertainty in their future due to climate change.”

One of the most sold Fairtrade products is coffee – which also happens to be the most sensitive to changes in temperature. The smallest change in temperature can mean that these coffee bushes struggle to survive. It is predicted that the areas suitable for coffee production will decrease considerably by 2020 in significant coffee-producing countries such as Brazil, Uganda and Vietnam and the global demand for coffee is set to rise.

Additionally, cocoa farmers are faced with a difficult task as it is one of the hardest crops to grow. It is a delicate crop that must be protected from wind, sun, pests, and disease.  This becomes increasingly difficult as climate change worsens. During Fairtrade fortnight, a campaign is running to ensure Cocoa farmers are being paid the £1.86 per day that they need in order to achieve a living income. The cocoa farmers, many being women who also look after children, carry water, collect wood, cook and clean for the family, often earn only 74p per day.

Aileen explained how Fairtrade are trying help farmers maintain their livelihood, she said:

“Through the minimum price and extra premium Fairtrade offers, Fairtrade producers are more able to prepare for the impact of climate effects. For example, producers have chosen to invest their premiums in crop diversification, reforestation, conservation, switching to organic farming methods, training and more.”

It is important to spread the awareness about changing the food we buy and choosing products from Fairtrade companies which will not only help tackle poverty overseas but also help Fairtrade farmers adapt to climate change and shape healthy supply chains for years to come.

Help make a difference to the livelihood and well-being of farmers overseas by purchasing Fairtrade chocolate or coffee.

Join us on Saturday 28 October to lobby Sainsbury’s “Don’t ditch Fairtrade!”

Sainsbury’s is the largest retailer of Fairtrade products in the UK. They’ve decided to abandon Fairtrade certification on some of their own-brand tea products and pilot their own scheme instead, known as ‘Fairly Traded’.

We are concerned that this new ‘Fairly Traded’ tea and any products that follow it, could mean an unfair deal for poor farmers.

Can you join us on Saturday 28 October to register our dismay at this decision by Sainsbury’s? We are meeting at the Sainsbury’s store near Queen Street station in Cardiff at 12.30 pm as part of a nationwide “Day of Action.”

We will be delivering a letter of protest to Sainsbury’s to challenge their decision to abandon the Fairtrade mark and we need your support to help us raise awareness of their decision to replace the Fairtrade Mark on its Red Label and other selected teas with its own `fairly traded’ version.

Online petitions asking Sainsbury’s to keep the Fairtrade mark have already attracted over 130,000 signatures.  But they remain unmoved to date

If you are unable to join us on 28 October in Cardiff, why not take action yourself and tell Sainsbury’s not to ditch Fairtrade.  You can personalise and print out this letter to Sainsbury’s and get as many people in your parish to sign it.

Fairtrade guarantees tea producers receive an additional `premium’ payment – on top of the price of their tea – to invest in their businesses and communities as they see fit.

CAFOD supporters are concerned that tea farmers will lose control of the social premium they would earn under Sainsbury’s alternative scheme, which stipulates that suppliers have to apply to a UK-based board for their funding.

They are also worried that standards will be controlled by Sainsbury’s, and will not be set independently. Tea farmers will not be represented in the scheme’s governance – in stark contrast to Fairtrade certification where producers are part of the decision making process about how standards are set, monitored and reviewed.

It’s estimated that nearly a quarter of a million tea farmers and workers will be affected.

Last month a group of Swansea residents and CAFOD supporters was was moved to protest against at Sainsbury’s decision to trial their own scheme as they feel that the Fairtrade mark is instantly recognisable.

“As consumers, we make a conscious decision to buy Fairtrade tea.  We are confident that when buying Fairtrade, it’s a guarantee of a fair price and a fair deal for the millions of farmers in developing countries who produce the tea we love to drink.”

“We feel that the term “fairly traded” is disingenuous. People will be confused and it’s really misleading.  They will think Sainsbury’s tea is Fairtrade and not know the difference.  What’s next after tea? Bananas? Coffee?  We are disgusted with this scheme which means that the farmers will no longer be able to decide what’s best for them in their communities – some anonymous board in the Uk will decide for them.”

The protests are part of a nationwide campaign supported by CAFOD, Christian Aid, The Women’s Institute, Traidcraft Exchange and Tearfund calling on the supermarket to reconsider this pilot scheme.

The group said, “Wales is the first Fairtrade nation, let’s keep it that way!”

British tea drinkers account for three quarters of Fairtrade tea sales globally, with Sainsbury’s the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade.

The Fairtrade Foundation was founded in 1992 by a group of charities including CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Traidcraft, to create a market of better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for small-scale farmers. The Fairtrade Foundation estimates more than 1.65 million farmer and workers in 74 countries now get a better deal from Fairtrade.

Therese Warwick, South Wales representative of the aid agency CAFOD said: “Buying Fairtrade tea is a proven way to make a difference every time we drink a cup of tea, and the action by our Swansea volunteers shows the mark is wide supported in Swansea and the surrounding areas, and indeed, across the country.”

“Sainsbury’s have been a leading retailer of Fairtrade products, making a real difference to the lives of tea farmers and their families in some of the world’s poorest countries. We’d like them to reconsider this decision to remove the Fairtrade mark from their own-brand tea.”

And why not explore more about becoming a Fairtrade parish?

 

Swansea campaigners stage Sainsbury’s protest over threat to Fairtrade tea

Sally, Stuart, Paul, Stella and Sue

Swansea and Pontyberem residents have delivered a letter of protest to the Sainsbury’s Superstore in Quay Parade to challenge the supermarket’s decision to abandon the Fairtrade mark on some of its own-brand tea in favour of its own scheme.

On Friday 1 September, CAFOD campaign volunteers took to the streets of Swansea to raise awareness of Sainsbury’s decision to replace the Fairtrade Mark on its Red Label and other selected teas with its own `fairly traded’ version.

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Fairtrade Fortnight

fairtradeWales is a Fairtrade country.  Indeed was the first Fairtrade nation in the world! Now that’s something to shout about…

This year Fairtrade Fortnight runs from Monday 27 February until Sunday 12 March.

The food on our tables, the tea and coffee in our mugs, all come from farmers around the world who toil, sweat and slog.

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New Year resolutions to live more simply

livesimply-group-monmouth-and-ross-4-jan-2017

Parishioners from the LiveSimply group from St Mary’s in Monmouth and St Frances of Rome, Ross-on-Wye have been getting together over the last six months to explore ways to live more simply in their respective communities.

The first meeting of the new year saw the group hone in on planning the actions that they wish to take going forward.  Pope Francis has called on us all to make simple daily gestures to care for the world’s poorest people, for future generations and for the earth, our common home. Continue reading