Fairtrade fortnight puts the fair into fairground

A fairground with a difference drew the crowds in London's South Bank on Sunday, inviting revellers to enjoy the fun and games whilst highlighting the importance of fair trade links with communities around the globe.

Fairtrade fortnight, the annual campaign of the Fairtrade Foundation, began this week and the fair included a tea cup ride raising the profile of trade links with tea producers and a coconut shy with fair trade coconuts.

A series of talks by producers who benefit from fair trade links will also take place around the country over the coming two weeks and consumers will be given the opportunity to taste some of the 3,000 fair trade items now certified in the UK.

Fairtrade Foundation executive director Harriet Lamb said: “We hope that people roll up to join in the fairground fun, and learn about the serious message behind Fairtrade as well.

“Millions of farmers and workers are walking the delicate tightrope of international trade. When market prices wobble they risk falling into devastating poverty. Fairtrade offers them stability, so they have the confidence to look ahead and move towards a better future.”

Fair trade schemes give growers a fair price for their produce and ensure that the workforce has more control over how profits are spent.

This might include better medical facilities for workers and their families, or schools for their children.

As well as the social benefits, fair trade produce must meet certain environmental standards including low levels of harmful chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

“Fairtrade is already making a big difference to the lives of more than seven million people in the developing world, but there are millions more we’d like to reach,” said Ms Lamb.

“2007 was a phenomenal year of growth for Fairtrade bananas, for example, with one in every five bananas bought from supermarkets now Fairtrade certified.

“On the other hand, this means four in five bananas still aren’t Fairtrade, and we’re determined to change those odds.

“With the Choose Fairtrade Bus we aim to drive change across the UK and we need as many people as possible to jump onboard.”

Sam Bond

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