Fairtrade has a network of 570 Fairtrade Towns, 1,000 Fairtrade Schools and 170 Fairtrade Universities, and 7,200 Fairtrade Faith Groups. Activities will include fruit stalls, fairgrounds, dinner parties, quizzes, tugs of war and people will be encourage to involve banana costumes and giant inflatable bananas at their events. Larger public events will incorporate talks and films about the issues.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
The Fairtrade vision is of a world in which justice and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full potential. While this largely affects consumable products this does crossover into health, beauty and lifestyle products as well as fashion and in particular the production of cotton.
One of Agrocel’s major current projects is the Organic & Fairtrade Cotton Project, located in southern India. The project involves organising small-scale farmers into functioning farmers associations to help them meet organic and Fairtrade certification standards, improve farming techniques and reduce production costs. With marketing support from Agrocel, the farmers are able to access higher value markets and increase their incomes and profits. This long-term partnership also includes spreading the Fairtrade philosophy and encouraging pride in farming, particularly among younger farmers, many of whom drift to the cities, disillusioned with the status and financial prospects of farming.
Five Fairtrade certified organic cotton farmers’ groups in the states of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and Karnataka are currently participating in this project.
Agrocel Pure & Fair Cotton Growers’ Association from Kutch in Gujarat was one of the earliest participants in the project and typifies the scheme. With guidance from Agrocel, this previously unorganised group of 50 farmers was formalised into a legal entity in 2005. This was the first step in successfully gaining Fairtrade certification, which enabled the farmers to supply the UK market when Fairtrade certified cotton products were launched in November 2005. Products made with Agrocel Fairtrade cotton are available from Marks & Spencer, Bishopston Trading, Debenhams, Monsoon Accessorize, People Tree, Traidcraft, Tesco and many more retailers.
The success of the group has enabled them to extend membership to farmers in neighbouring Surendranagar district. Membership now stands at 1,930 farmers, including 77 women farmers, and extending to more than 6,000 hectares of cotton production.
We as consumers have the power to make an informative choice about the products we buy so why not show your support and look for the Fairtrade mark when you shop. Over 4,500 products are Fairtrade certified.