What is Fairtrade and why should we support it?
It is a response to poverty around the world. It began in small groups, in the nineteenth century informally, by Dutch people, Quakers and over time they made small inroads into fighting poverty. In 1969, the Dutch started a label to encourage people to buy goods grown by farmers in the third world.
In 1979, the British churches combined and founded Traidcraft in a warehouse in Newcastle which was their response to buying only goods made and produced by people in the third world. It was a trading company and a development charity. It was a founder member of Fairtrade. But, of course, now people from all walks of life are involved.
The formal Fairtrade label was designed in the 1980s
We encourage farmers in the third world who grow the crops that we cannot such as tea, coffee, bananas. They form co-operatives so they can become stronger and do business, trading their goods and we in Fairtrade help them to do this as does the Co-op which was inspired by their use of co-operatives. We support them with money and special payments called premiums which pay for things like toilets or schools.
Basic housing can contain 7 families and Fairtrade is very proud to help people to live in homes of their own, just one family per home.
10 years ago local people gathered together to try to get Fairtrade status for Llanelli. They felt that they could make Llanelli a Fairtrade Town. Carmarthen was a Fairtrade town and Carmarthenshire was a Fairtrade County. Thanks to that, all the schools, under the County Council, are completely involved in Fairtrade. The local churches, Catholic and Church of Wales, were Fairtrade so there was already support for it. Unfortunately, there was not enough Fairtrade being sold to make Llanelli a Fairtrade town in spite of all their efforts, so they struggled on.
When they changed their minds about Llanelli itself and looked at the constituency, they realised they could make it in to a Fairtrade Zone if they changed their name to Llanelli and District Fairtrade. This year they succeeded in getting Fairtrade status as a Zone. This was a massive step. One day they hope to still make Llanelli a Fairtrade Town but they will need a great deal of support from local businesses.
To the people of Llanelli, we need your support. The more businesses that use or sell Fairtrade products help the poor farmers in Africa, South America etc. The more we encourage local supermarkets, cafes and businesses to do more, the more we can achieve.
Onward and Upward, people of Llanelli!