john davies
notes from a small curate



    Fairtrade Fortnight

    BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 3/3/2003


    I guess, when you're having your first cuppa of the day, all you want to do is simply enjoy it, savour that taste, let it help you wake up.

    So I'll be gentle as I raise my favourite mug to you and say, welcome to Fairtrade Fortnight. Which begins today.

    Fair Trade is something to think about later on, when you're out shopping. It's a simple idea. Basically it's about cutting out the middlemen so that the folks who spend long days working the tea, coffee, banana, cocoa plantations, get paid a better, fairer wage.

    Isabel and Adolfo are from Costa Rica. They cultivate coffee for a living. Isabel gets up at 3am. Before leaving the house she cleans, washes clothes, prepares breakfast and lunch, which she will later take to the field. Adolfo joins her in the field at 5am. Before and after school, their children help collect the coffee berries. All this effort helps them pay for the children's education.

    They're among the better-off of Costa Rica's farmers because they're in a cooperative which exports part of its crop to the Fairtrade market. For these sales, the couple are guaranteed to cover the price of production. However, the rest of their crop gets a much lower price. They would like to export more to the Fairtrade market, but there's not enough consumer demand yet.

    That's what Fairtrade Fortnight is about. To encourage us to buy Fairtrade, savour the great flavours and enjoy the glow of knowing our modest efforts are helping folk like Isabel and Adolfo live a better life.