Reflection: Why should you choose Fairtrade goods?

Worker from a South African Fairtrade wine producer
Worker from a South African Fairtrade wine producer

I have to confess to feeling somewhat demoralised after the last few weeks by Trump mania and Brexit politics.

I’m probably in need of some sunshine, of which we have had precious little in recent weeks? Since when as a nation have we become only interested in ourselves?

Trump boasts of putting America first, and the Brexiteers boast of taking back control of our boarders.

Yet for me, I have always thought of the United Kingdom as being Great! Great in our ambition to lead the world in many areas of our common life, and wasn’t that what the Empire used to be about?

All my life I have been aware of what a fantastic trading nation this little island has become, both selling and buying commodities, enriching our experience of life, and supporting those in less economically developed countries.

Last month I made mention of the food crises in Tanzania, and how the harvests have failed due to lack of water, and the effects of climate change. This month I want to champion Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from 27 February to 12 March.

I have to confess failing to understand how anyone can object to the ethos of Fairtrade? Does not everyone in life want to be paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work? Is it right that farmers in really poor countries cannot sell their coco beans at a fair price and make a small profit on which to both live and feed their families and invest in their livelihood?

If we could get our moral compass on the right track, and managed to get all people of faith and none to support the Fairtrade movement, then would not the world be a better place for everyone? If the coco farmers were able to receive a fair wage, then they would have additional money to buy other goods, and support the local economy?

I can still remember my parents telling me that until the end of the Second World War, they had never seen a banana? All trade of this nature had ceased, and no bananas were to be either sold or bought, and everyone lost out.

My children love bananas, and I’m delighted that Sainsbury’s sell Fairtrade bananas and tea. We need to ask other Supermarkets to also supply Fairtrade goods, providing us with real choice to make the world a fairer place.

In the Minster on Thursday 2nd March 6.30pm – 8pm there will be the first of this year’s Minster Series exploring the subject of Fairtrade with farmers from Ghana and the Divine Chocolate company.

Even Nestle, a major employer in this town is making their Kitcat bars using Fairtrade products! Holly Lynch our MP is working hard in leading the town in becoming a Fairtrade town – look out for the activities in Halifax during Fairtrade fortnight.

The greatest gift in life is not what we can gain or achieve, but what we can give, and how we can support our neighbours, whether that is literally next door or the next street, or in Ghana or Tanzania?

As we negotiate our way out of the European Union, we shall want a fair deal in exactly the same way the coco farmers of Ghana want. I shall watch with interest!