Cam­paign sows seeds of change

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FRONT PAGE - by Clare Mul­grew

The Africa to Ash­ford Fair­trade Fort­night has been hailed as a suc­cess by or­gan­is­ers

ASH­FORD’S Fair­trade Fort­night has drawn to a close fol­low­ing a range of events to high­light the im­por­tance of of­fer­ing pro­duc­ers a fair price for their goods.

Peo­ple of all ages have been think­ing about the im­pact of their shop­ping habits on pro­duc­ers in third world coun­tries, as well as those at home.

This year’s theme was Ash­ford to Africa and schools, busi­nesses, foot­ball teams, churches and many other groups have learned how Fair­trade can help re­duce world poverty.

“From a slow start the cam­paign re­ally got go­ing at the end and I’m de­lighted that so many peo­ple got in­volved and helped us spread the Fair­trade story,” said Andrew Hind, spokesman for Ash­ford’s Fair­trade steer­ing group

“A straw poll of lo­cal busi­nesses would sug­gest that the cam­paign has gen­er­ated a lot of lo­cal in­ter­est in and de­mand for Fair­trade prod­ucts and the link­ing of fair­trade for all pro­duc­ers, both here and in the Third World has res­onated with lo­cal peo­ple.”

The two-week cam­paign has raised aware­ness of Pro­duced in Kent, a mar­ket­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­port­ing farm­ers and pro­duc­ers in the re­gion whose liveli­hoods are threat­ened by com­pe­ti­tion from the su­per­mar­ket gi­ants.

Fair­trade Fort­night has high­lighted how by sup­port­ing Fair­trade, peo­ple can help sus­tain whole com­mu­ni­ties.

Mr Hind has also spo­ken about the char­ity, Jam­bo­hut, which helps con­serve wildlife through the sale of wood carv­ings and other craft items made by Fair­trade pro­duc­ers in Kenya.

Half of net prof­its go to­wards wildlife projects in Africa.

“The next phase of our cam­paign is to trans­late that un­tapped de­mand into a greater avail­abil­ity of Fair­trade prod­ucts, so that con­sumers can ac­tu­ally buy what they want, prefer­ably with­out hav­ing to pay a pre­mium,” added Mr Hind.

Th­ese Kenyan wood carvers are guar­an­teed a fair price for their prod­ucts through the Fair­trade scheme

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