Monday, March 2, 2015


Fairtrade Fortnight is coming - 23 February - 8 March 2015!

Since the first Fairtrade Fortnight in 1995, the movementt has come so far, educating the public on why to choose Fairtrade and increasing sales on Fairtrade terms for marginalised producers. Over the past 20 years, together we’ve made the Fairtrade mark the biggest and best known ethical label in the UK.

78% of the UK public recognise the FAIRTRADE Mark.

From UK sales alone, £26m of Fairtrade Premium was invested by producers in 2013.

But we know there is still a long way to go to make all trade fair – just 1.2% of cocoa and less than 10% of tea globally is traded on Fairtrade terms.

The UK leads the world when it comes to Fairtrade – with more products available and more awareness than anywhere else. Sales of Fairtrade products continued to grow to £1.7 billion in 2013, extending the benefits of Fairtrade to more producers than ever before.

However for a nation of tea drinkers we consume only 7% Fairtrade tea. To improve this we are going to focus on how fair-trade tea can have a positive impact on the communities that grow th tea.

Fyson is married with eight children and 33 grandchildren. The 79-year-old started growing tea as a smallholder farmer in 1964. Eleven years ago, he joined Sukambizi Association Trust (SAT), a co-operative with more than 8,000 smallholder farmers in the Mount Mulanje area of southern Malawi.

The benefits of Fairtrade for Fyson range from being able to drink safe water from a community water tap rather than unprotected wells, to a fund for maize which he can buy at a 30% lower price than the market offers – both funded by the Fairtrade Premium.His grandchildren are schooled in modern blocks and sit at desks also paid for by the Fairtrade Premium. In the future, Fyson would like to grow more tea and see piped water taps in every household. And for himself? ‘A water tap for my house’.

Just 1% of the tea produced in Malawi is consumed locally while the rest is exported. Is it in your cup? Tea provides up to 70% of smallholder farmers’ incomes in the region and they also grow maize, cassava, pineapples, bananas and sugar cane for household consumption and sale to local markets.

The majority of farmers live in houses with thatched roofs rather than iron roof sheets while most have no electricity or running water. More than 90% of their children attend primary school but only 25% carry on to secondary education. Farmers struggle to buy enough food during the dry, off-peak season when little tea is harvested and sold. Changing weather patterns and an increase in pests and disease are reducing yields by 15% on average and affecting farmers’ incomes.

Why tea farmers still need you
• Tea producers in the Fairtrade system sell on average under 9% of their product on Fairtrade terms
• Only around 7% of tea sold in the UK is Fairtrade
• Tea production relies on established rainfall patterns. In recent years weather patterns have become increasingly unpredictable, linked to deforestation and climate change, and affecting producers’ livelihoods
More tea sales mean more benefits for the 285,900 tea farmers and workers in the Fairtrade system, and the opportunity for more farmers and workers to start selling on Fairtrade terms. 

So it may sound easy but using Fair-trade really does make differences to peoples lives. Now we use Fair-trade tea in church but lets try and use it elsewhere and try and influence others to do the same.