Spend Lent eating Fairtrade chocolate to help women

MARKET FORCES: The Tunbridge Wells Fairtrade Town Group receive the renewal of their status at The Pantiles stall: (l-r) Jacqueline Franklin, Linda Rowe, Caroline Auckland, Mandy Flashman-Wells, Jessica Watson, Mayor Len Horwood, Mayoress Judy Horwood an

Spend Lent eating Fairtrade chocolate to help women

20th March 2019

TUNBRIDGE WELLS has backed a Fairtrade Fortnight campaign calling for a ‘living income’ for the world’s poorest farmers and agricultural workers – focusing on cocoa farmers, and particularly women.

Mandy Flashman-Wells, of the Tunbridge Wells Fairtrade Town Group, said: “Fairtrade Fortnight is the time of year when we celebrate the people who grow our food.

“Many of them live in some of the poorest countries in the world and who are often exploited and badly paid.

“These farmers produce many foods that we take for granted – tea, sugar, coffee and cocoa – but they often can’t afford life’s essentials, such as housing, food, safe drinking water, medicine and education.”

In 2016 a crash in global prices put most cocoa farmers in West Africa below the poverty line.

They earn less than 78p a day – but they need to earn a minimum of £1.86 a day in order to achieve a living income.

Meanwhile, many chocolate companies make massive profits – the UK chocolate industry is worth £4billion each year.

Most of the world’s cocoa comes from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, but only a fraction of the crop exported from West Africa is certified as a Fairtrade product.

Mandy said: “Cocoa farming households headed by women are often in a far worse situation than those headed by men.

“Despite their hard work, both in the field and in the home, they’re overlooked and under-represented, and usually see even less income than equivalent households headed by men.”

She added: “It is well known that directing more independent income into the hands of women accelerates the development of the whole community. So this year the Fairtrade #SheDeserves campaign seeks to highlight the importance of supporting women farmers.”

Instead of giving up chocolate for Lent, the Tunbridge Wells Fairtrade Town Group is calling on the public to use only Fairtrade certified chocolate and cocoa.

“It is the perfect time to take a stand for the cocoa farmers and indulge yourself with Fairtrade chocolate treats,” said Mandy.

“Host a coffee morning with your own chocolate cake creations, or hold a bake-off competition – and don’t forget to buy Fairtrade Easter eggs.

“And if your favourite shops don’t sell Fairtrade chocolate, write to them and say why it is important. Together we can fight for living incomes and a fairer world.”

The Tunbridge Wells Fairtrade Town Group had a stall in The Pantiles market this month promoting the #She Deserves campaign.

The Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Len Horwood, was presented with a certificate to mark the renewal of Fairtrade Town status. If you would like to join, email: contact@twfairtrade.org.uk

The Fairtrade Foundation is running a petition calling for a living income for farmers, which has been signed by 22,000 people. To sign it, visit action.fairtrade.org.uk

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