This article appeared in The Llanelli Herald on 25th January 2019
I am very proud that Llanelli and District is now a ‘Fairtrade Zone’.
Many farmers around the world are still not paid what they deserve, and those in developing countries often work in appalling conditions for very little money. Fairtrade is about making sure that the lowest paid agricultural workers get their fair share and can live healthy, happy lives.
The fact that our area was able to become a Fairtrade Zone says a lot about our values. It also reflects the hard work of local activists like Tara Fisher in promoting Fairtrade around town. Being a Fairtrade Town means having lots of shops selling Fairtrade products and local councils, schools and community groups supporting the principles of Fairtrade. Achieving this was no mean feat.
Particularly impressive was last year’s Fairtrade Fortnight, which saw Traidcraft stalls and Fairtrade teas popping up all over town. I was especially pleased to see local schools taking part, and I look forward to working with them again this year. Educating children about the importance of Fairtrade is vital if we are to ensure that future generations understand problems in the developing world and avoid buying products that make them worse.
As we leave the European Union, we need to make sure that any deals we strike guarantee fairness for farmers. Brexit must not be an excuse to abandon low paid farmers in developing countries, nor to withdraw support from UK farmers, who are vital for our future food security and the lifeblood of our rural economies and communities. Large supermarket chains must not use disproportionate buying power to beat down the prices they pay local producers and deny farmers fair wages.
So let’s take pride in the fact that Llanelli and District is now Fairtrade Zone, but keep up our efforts to ensure that farmers in the UK and around the world are supported and paid fairly.