Bananas, black sigatoka and business awards
Now, just as the dust is beginning to settle back onto our
Fairtrade banana costume I wanted to share with you my experiences
of Fairtrade Fortnight 2012….
Headline figures supplied by Fairtrade Foundation kicked off my
enthusiasm for the 14 days ahead. According to their stats,
the movement has continued to grow despite the economic climate
with 42% of all sugar purchased in the UK being Fairtrade, and
sales overall reaching £1.3 billion.
As the fortnight progressed these figures were proudly included
at most events I attended, but the stories around them varied
In London I heard from Rosemary Kadzitche who spoke of the hard
work which goes into harvesting peanuts; meanwhile Sandra Rojas
told of the massive $60 increase received through Fairtrade ($50
for the seeds and $10 on top in Fairtrade premium) for a 45kg sack
of Sesame seeds.
A personal highlight was having banana farmer Tookie from the
Windward Islands speak in Leighton Buzzard of the challenges his
sector faces. He spoke of the devastation caused by Hurricane
Tomas as well as the challenge presented by the spread of black
Sigatoka, a disease which affects the yield of a banana
plant. Despite this however, Tookie said the biggest
challenge for the farmers was securing the capital they need to
ensure the sustainability of their co-operative.
As well as travelling the breadth of the country, I tweeted my
way through numerous events from the first Bristol Fairtrade
Business Awards to the fifth Witney Fairtrade Fair. I also
attended my first service at St Paul's Cathedral. This was a
celebration of London becoming a Fairtrade Diocese. When the
Bishop encouraged everyone to shout 'Fairtrade' and wave our fair
trade flags, it brought a fantastic end to what has been a busy but
successful and inspiring fortnight.