To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight 2023 (27th February to 12th March) groups across Monmouthshire are holding events designed to engage, inform and educate people on the urgent threat to the future of food grown overseas. The events are part of the Fairtrade Foundation’s annual campaign to celebrate the farmers abroad who grow some of Britain’s everyday staples.
Fairtrade Fortnight will once again shine a spotlight on the climate crisis and the increasing threat it poses to some of the planet’s most beloved food products as well as the livelihoods of the farmers and agricultural workers who grow them. It will show how the future survival of the world’s most popular foods – such as bananas, cocoa, and coffee – hangs in the balance unless we support farmers and agricultural workers playing a central role in the climate response.
Bananas are the world’s most popular fruit and the banana trade remains the cornerstone of many countries’ economy. For more than 450 million people around the world, bananas and plantains are vital staple crops, particularly in lower-income nations. But amid the impact of climate change and the resulting threats posed by plant diseases, the future of bananas is increasingly at risk. A recent study warns that dramatic weather patterns spurred by climate change will likely deliver severe blows to agricultural production in key regions around the world, with some areas experiencing less rainfall and more extreme temperatures, while other countries will see an increased risk of tropical cyclones.
Likewise, coffee growers in the Mt Elgon region of Uganda are experiencing mudslides and flooding with increasing regularity. Their effects are devastating and often fatal. Fairtrade means that these communities are able to work together to fight back through tree planting, sustainable farming methods and joint education programmes. These schemes help communities to mitigate the impacts of climate change and become more resilient to the weather extremes they increasingly face.
Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Councillor Catrin Maby said, “Climate change is affecting people’s lives across the world. Fairtrade is helping farmers and growers to develop ways to cope with the impacts of climate change and adapt to different weather extremes. Monmouthshire is proud to be a Fairtrade county, and it is important that we think carefully about the impact of what we put in our shopping baskets. Buying Fairtrade really makes a difference to people’s lives and helps communities to become more resilient, enabling them to continue to get a decent income from the foods which we enjoy.”
Monmouthshire’s four Fairtrade Town groups in Abergavenny, Chepstow, Monmouth and Usk are organising a host of events across the country during Fairtrade Fortnight.
The events include: Saturday 18th February, Fairtrade Stall at Usk Farmer’s Market at The Willows Garden Centre, 9am-11.30am. Friday 24th February at Abergavenny Football Club, Pen-y-Pound, 2pm, Kadun Rees of Fairtrade Wales speaks to Abergavenny U3A. Monday 20th February until 12th March, Chepstow Fairtrade Trail – Collect an entry form from Toytastik or Coffee#1, follow the trail to find Fairtrade products around town and then enter a prize draw to win a Fairtrade prize.
Each event will bring home the message that choosing Fairtrade, whatever your budget and wherever you shop, means a more sustainable future for our favourite foods and an investment in farmers to take care of the environment.