THE success of Fair Trade across Scotland is largely thanks to the personal commitment of campaigners, who since the 1960s, have worked tirelessly towards ensuring that products exported from developing countries to developed countries are produced under fair conditions and empower producers to have more control over their livelihoods and the development of their communities. Achieving Fair Trade Nation status for Scotland is another milestone in this decades-long process.
Scotland is only the second nation after Wales to achieve Fair Trade Nation status. While we have much to celebrate today, work must continue to keep the positive momentum to further embed Fair Trade values among the entire Scottish population and across all sectors of society. Twenty-eight per cent of Scots say that they buy Fairtrade products at least once a week according to a 2012 survey we carried out in May 2012.
The Forum and Scotland also shares this achievement with our producer partners in developing countries. Fair Trade has made a positive impact on their lives and that of their children. Fair Trade premiums paid to producers have enabled them to enjoy higher and more stable incomes than other producers, especially when global prices were low.
Their control over the supply chain has also meant that they are able to plan and implement development projects for their communities. For example, this has helped rice farmers in Malawi to pay for housing, clothing, farming necessities, transport and education for their children. To send one child to secondary school for a year, a farmer needs to sell enough to make 90kgs milled rice. With the help of Just Trading Scotland, a small Fair Trade Business based in Paisley, approximately 100 tonnes of Kilombero rice from Malawi has been sold since 2008, enabling at least 260 children to attend secondary school.
Henry Kalomba, who is visiting Scotland for Fairtrade Fortnight 2013, is the General Manager of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi. He said: “By promoting awareness about Fair Trade, what we really are doing is bringing awareness to the consumers in Scotland that by buying Fair Trade commodities, particularly produced in the developing world, then they are assisting the smallholder producers to improve their lives and work their way out of poverty.”
Justine Watalunga is a Ugandan coffee producer, also touring Scotland during Fairtrade Fortnight this year. She is one of the producers of the Mt Elgon Gumutindo Ground Coffee for Edinburgh based Equal Exchange, which is part of the company’s ‘Coffee Grown by Women’ range. This coffee is grown by women farmers in Peru, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sumatra and India, paying them additional premiums over and above the Fair Trade premium in order to grow their businesses and support their families.
The addition of the Fairtrade Premium for coffee farmers has made a huge impact. Justine said: “The Fairtrade Premium is like a miracle to us, it comes directly into our hands. It is an acknowledgement of our work, of what we are capable of and who we are.”
The positive impact that Fair Trade has had on our partners in developing countries, is the reason why our work exists and makes it worthwhile.
For media inquiries, please call:
Martin Rhodes, Director, Scottish Fair Trade Forum
Telephone: 0131 226 6162
Cell phone: 0778 665 8512
Notes to editors:
- All Scottish cities have Fairtrade status
- 55 per cent of local authority areas in Scotland have Fairtrade status.
- Ten universities and one college have achieved Fair Trade status, with eight more universities and colleges working towards achieving it.
- The criteria for Fair Trade Nation status were set out by the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government in 2006.
- The Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government support Fair Trade through (for example) the use and promotion of Fairtrade products internally at all meetings and in all catering outlets.
Not formal criteria but regarded as desirable:
- There are pledges of support for Fair Trade from major faith groups, schools and further education institutions, trade unions and Chambers of Commerce and business networks.
- National festivals support Fair Trade.
- There is a good number of British Association for Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS) or World shops and a good number of Fair Trade or BAFTS suppliers.