I took the farmers to meet the Foundation Housing group in Leeds who in addition to offer housing related services to the homeless of north and west Yorkshire, have been supporting the fairtrade as part of the social responsibility policy since 2008.
The event was held at the impressive Shine Conference Centre on Harehills Road with the main focus being on co-ops and Fairtrade.
Anane and James, (the two Kuapa Kokoo farmers), rose to the occasion clearly describing the benefits of farmer ownership and co-operative working in the course of their cocoa farming activities in Kuapa Kokoo. Their talk was followed on by a very interesting question and answer session sandwiched between a zealous audience member who gave an impromptu lecture on the merits of banana growing!
Brent Riley of Foundation Housing stated that “to hear the farmers speak so passionately about the difference it made to their communities was very heartening and somewhat humbling. Schools, water and medical centre’s are all things we take very much for granted in our relatively affluent lives. Put very simply, fairtrade results in the farmers getting fair payment for their produce. Foundation Housing really should be proud of the difference we are making to the lives of others.
Many who attended said how enlightening they found the talk from the farmers. We also had DVD’s playing before the talk describing how the communities had benefited from fairtrade. We had displays on show of various fairtrade products. Remember fairtrade encompasses far more than tea, coffee and sugar, fairtrade has over 3,000 certified goods such as, cotton, fruit, rubber and flowers, etc.”
Premcrest, Foundation Housings’ supplier of many fairtrde goods kindly donated a table of fairtrade samples for the event.