Shop­pers urged to think of pro­duc­ers

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT - by Clare Mul­grew

If ev­ery­one switched to Fair­trade prod­ucts at home and at work, world poverty would be dra­mat­i­cally re­duced through eco­nomic jus­tice

Ash­ford Fair­trade Fort­night has fea­tured a host of events to high­light the im­por­tance of of­fer­ing pro­duc­ers a fair price for their goods

SHOP­PERS in Ash­ford are be­ing asked to re­flect on how their habits af­fect pro­duc­ers, com­mu­ni­ties and the en­vi­ron­ment.

The theme of this year’s Fair­trade Fort­night is “Ash­ford to Africa” to drive home the mes­sage that giv­ing peo­ple the chance to make a de­cent liv­ing ap­plies as much to farm­ers in Kent as to those in the Third World.

Busi­nesses, schools and many other groups have been get­ting in­volved with the cam­paign to help Ash­ford be­come a Fair­trade Town.

The Ash­ford Fair­trade Steer­ing Group has been or­gan­is­ing the two-week ini­tia­tive which be­gan at Brook Pri­mary School when chil­dren were taught how un­even di­vi­sion of wealth in the world can lead to star­va­tion in many coun­tries.

Fair­trade is a set of in­terna- tion­ally-recog­nised cri­te­ria which help en­sure greater dayto-day se­cu­rity for pro­duc­ers, as well as good qual­ity for the con­sumer.

Pro­duc­ers must ad­here to rules which in­clude no ex­ploita­tion, no dis­crim­i­na­tion, and no child labour, as well as fol­low en­vi­ron­men­tal and anti-cor­rup­tion poli­cies.

Andrew Hind, spokesman for the Ash­ford steer­ing group, said: “Fair­trade prod­ucts are high qual­ity and can cost less than ev­ery­day items that do not al­low pro­duc­ers to make a de­cent liv­ing.

Dra­mat­i­cally

“If ev­ery­one switched to Fair­trade prod­ucts at home and at work, world poverty would be dra­mat­i­cally re­duced through eco­nomic jus­tice.

“Ask for Fair­trade be­cause it re­ally does mat­ter to some­one, some­where, even though you might never meet them.

“The more peo­ple who pur­chase Fair­trade items the fewer Africans die of star­va­tion.

“It re­ally is a di­rect cor­re­la­tion.”

And peo­ple in Ash­ford have been mak­ing a stand over the past two weeks to show their sup­port for Fair­trade and Pro­duced in Kent prod­ucts, which help small pro­duc­ers.

Dr Hi­lary Moorby, chair­man of the Ash­ford Area Com­mit­tee of Kent Parish Coun­cils, said: “Most peo­ple know about the farm­ers’ mar­kets and farm shops in many of the parishes in the area.

“What we would now like to see in main­stream avail­abil­ity and use of Kent and Fair­trade prod­ucts in busi­nesses, schools, and as private con­sumers.

“Chang­ing our pref­er­ences and shop­ping habits is es­sen­tial to the liveli­hoods of count­less pro­duc­ers in Kent and around the world.”

Nu­mer­ous busi­nesses in and around Ash­ford have been get­ting in­volved over the past two weeks.

Staff at the Con­ning­brook ho­tel made cakes for guests us­ing only Fair­trade and Pro­duced in Kent prod­ucts.

Part of the Shep­herd Neame chain of pubs, the Con­ning­brook is al­ready a firm sup­port of Kent beers and stocks Fair­trade tea, cof­fee and choco­late.

Utopia bar in Ash­ford town cen­tre has long been a sup­porter of fair trade, serv­ing Fair­trade cock­tails as part of the cam­paign.

And Douy Douys Deli dished up de­li­cious drinks and tray­bakes us­ing eth­i­cally-sourced prod­ucts to rangers at Poul­ton Wood.

Pic­ture: Heather Down

The Bar­bary Lion Project at Port Lympne is an ex­am­ple of how Fair­trade can also help sup­port wildlife con­ser­va­tion

Pic­ture: Dave Downey pd1156564

Poul­ton Wood vol­un­teers take a Fair­trade break: from left, Lisa Fraser, Joanne Burgess, Ben Markham, project man­ager Lynn Cook, Ian Carle, Neil Show­ell and Stu­art Cross

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