Fairtrade comes west - Political Quote

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fairtrade comes west

Ever since we set up the Fairtrade committee in Janurary 2005 we have received great support from the people of Westport and from the businesses in town like Super Valu, Centra and Ylang Ylang. Both churches came on board immediately and we were able to launch it after Mass with a tea morning for the congregations of St Mary's and Holy Trinity.

With the unanimous support of my fellow councillors we passed a motion in support of Fairtrade products and began working on the seven steps to becoming a Fairtrade town.

Today Westport Fairtrade Steering Committee have been notified by Fairtrade Ireland that Westport is to be granted status this week. It will officially become a Fairtrade Town a week before Castlebar does.

I am delighted that our town has achieved Fairtrade Status and now becomes the first Fairtrade Town in Connaught to join Galway which is a Fairtrade city.

Fairtrade is a better deal, a ‘fair’ deal for producers and workers in developing countries. Any product carrying the distinctive Fairtrade logo is guaranteed to have paid the farmer a fair price for his product, ensuring they were not exploited. You will be giving farmers in developing nations a fair day’s wage and the chance to improve the conditions for their families and communities, and isn’t that what we all ultimately want for ourselves?

Ever since we established the Steering committee we have been out and about spreading the word about Fairtrade and what it means for farmers and producers in the developing world. When we started in 2004 with a tea and coffee morning after church in Carrowbeg House we never dreamed that we would get such support and that people would embrace the idea so quickly. We owe a lot to the shoppers of Westport who made the switch to Fairtrade tea, coffee, bananas, wine, chocolate and the whole range of projects. We are also grateful to the shops, cafes, restaurants, schools, businesses and organisations which made the switch over to the Fairtrade mark. The children of Westport in particular took the Fairtrade project to heart.

Over the last two years we on the committee have been at the Food and Craft Markets on the Mall, in the St Patrick’s Day Parade, in the schools, in the shops and on the streets spreading the word about Fairtrade. A highlight of our campaign was when Alivera Kiiza a Fairtrade Coffee famrer and the first woman manager of the fair-trade coffee cooperative in Tanzania was our guest at a talk about Fairtrade for the secondary schools.

In order to achieve the status of Fairtrade Town for Westport we had to accomplish the following.

A local steering group is convened to ensure continued commitment to its Fairtrade Town status.

  • The Town Council passes a resolution supporting Fairtrade, and agrees to serve Fairtrade coffee and tea in the office and at all its meetings and continues to support the Fairtrade Mark.

  • A range of FAIRTRADE Mark products are available in the Town’s shops, supermarkets, local cafes, restaurants, and hotels.

  • FAIRTRADE Mark products are used by a Flagship business as well as 12 other local businesses and organisations. This should include schools, churches, large offices and local voluntary groups.

  • The group attracts media coverage and popular support for the campaign.

  • A significant number of schools become Fairtrade Schools. They use the Civil Social and Political Education pack on Fairtrade for secondary schools and the Alive 2008 programme for Primary Schools.”

Click here to read a news report about the visit of a Fairtrade Farmer to Westport.

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