Celebrating Fairtrade along the Meridian

Sophi reports from the first event in Greenwich:

Harriet & Fatima, fresh from the rainforest in the Western Region of Ghana, braved the freezing British winter to launch of Fairtrade Fortnight 2011 in Greenwich.  Greenwich became a Fairtrade Town in 2006.  (And by the way Ghana is also on the zero meridian and Greenwich is Twinned with Tema in Ghana.) Cllr John Fahy and Cllr Jim Gillman the Deputy Mayor of Greenwich welcomed everyone to the newly refurbished Eltham Centre and congratulated everyone for the success of Fairtrade, the market is now worth more £1.17 billion in the UK and is benefiting millions of poor farmers around the world. 

Deputy Mayor of Greenwich Cllr Jim Gillman and Cllr John Fahy with Harriet Boatemaa and Fatima Ali

Chris from Cards for Africa  spoke and showed a little film showing how buying a beautiful greetings card can support dignified jobs for young people in Rwanda who have been orphaned by the war.  

I introduced Harriet and Fatima and congratulated Greenwich on being a Fairtrade Town. I’m really proud London has achieved Fairtrade Status and is the largest Fairtrade City in the world.  I hope Greenwich will help us achieve our ambition of delivering the First Fairtrade Olympics.

Harriet and Fatima described their experience as farmers – how they cultivate, harvest, ferment and dry the cocoa beans that go into Divine and how they have benefited from the additional premiums they earn from Fairtrade sales.  They showed bonny pictures of children in schools they have built and people enjoying clean water from wells that have been sunk.  Kuapa’s commitment to gender empowerment has been made real by the presence of these two confident young women. They never could have imagined that they would be representing their co-operative , a successful business trading 30,000 tonnes of cocoa with a turnover more then $50 million last year.


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