From the Shetland Islands to Penzance, more than 50,000 people pledged special breakfasts across the UK to shine a light on the challenges faced by millions of farmers and workers who produce the food we eat, but struggle to feed themselves and their families, as part of the national Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 campaign.
Fairtrade Fortnight called upon people to ‘wake up’ and help farmers feed their families by pledging to buy a Fairtrade product for their breakfast, like a banana, coffee or muesli and adding it to an online counter at www.fairtrade.org.uk/breakfast.
Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine and TV presenter Laura Jackson, together the Jackson & Levine Supperclub, kicked off the campaign by hosting a supperclub earlier in the day than usual. Further ‘big breakfasts’ were held in Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester and York with local dignitaries.
Meanwhile other celebrity supporters including Allegra McEvedy, Rachel Khoo, Georgia Toffolo, Monty Don, Simon Reeves, Olly Smith, Ken Hom, River Cottage, Thomasina Miers and Anita Rani took part in the campaign.
Four Fairtrade tea, coffee, banana and cocoa producers toured the country to talk about their personal experiences of food security during the fortnight. Sodexo, Greggs, Percol, Café Direct and Divine Chocolate also invited farmers to the UK to speak to their customers and attend events.
The UK’s International Development Minister Desmond Swayne and 30 MPs also met two farmers from Kenya and Colombia at a special breakfast event in the Houses of Parliament to launch a new All Party Parliamentary Group which was supported by campaigners and schoolchildren from West Yorkshire, with refreshments provided by The Co-operative.
Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation said: “A big thank you to all the thousands of people who have chosen to swap something to Fairtrade as they will help make the difference to the millions of farmers who survived a difficult year and can now plan for the future. Also thanks to all those companies like Marks & Spencer who celebrated ten years of Fairtrade tea and coffee in their cafes and in-store, the Co-operative for converting all their own label and branded sugar and Aldi for trialling their first range of Fairtrade cotton t-shirts!”
Coffee, chocolate, banana and tea, staples of many UK breakfasts, are multibillion-pound industries. Yet in the main tea producing regions, more than 30% of children are malnourished, resulting in stunted physical and mental development. Cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire live on less than 40p per person per day during July and August. Smallholder coffee farmers in three Central American countries face food insecurity for 3-4 months every year.
Fairtrade has paved the way for fairer, sustainable trading. It currently works with more than 1.5 million farmers and workers in developing nations enabling them to earn a sustainable income and the Fairtrade Premium that they can invest in vital community, business and environmental projects.
Campaigner Laura Bayliss, University of Salford Fairtrade Group said: "Farming is the backbone of the world. It’s simply wrong that so many farmers who work hard to produce what we eat go hungry themselves”.
Martha Cecilia Bolaño Bernal, banana farmer from Columbia, said: “Before Fairtrade, we used to lose money. Our life system has changed – we now have not only security but also hope. We see a better future and our land’s value has increased thanks to the infrastructure projects that have taken place.”
Throughout Fairtrade Fortnight, businesses including Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Starbucks backed Fairtrade with special announcements from The Co-operative switching all its sugar to Fairtrade, Ben & Jerry’s launching three new ice cream flavours, Aldi announcing a new line of Fairtrade cotton T-shirts and today, TfL’s new five year partnership deal to source Fairtrade cotton for all staff uniforms.
For the latest figures, please check www.fairtrade.org.uk\breakfast.To interview Michael Gidney or a Fairtrade producer please contact the media team: firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7440 7692.
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Notes to Editors
The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.5 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 74 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
Fairtrade has a network of over 600 Fairtrade Towns, 1350 Fairtrade Schools and 170 Fairtrade Universities, and 7,500 Fairtrade Places of Worship.
Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.
Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continues to be high in 2014, at a level of 78%.