A GUATEMALAN coffee producer launched Fairtrade Fortnight in Limerick yesterday, which encourages consumers to buy ethical products that guarantee producers a fair price for their work.
Mayor of Limerick Cllr Maria Byrne expressed pride in the cityâ€™s affiliation to fairtrade, with an increasing number of independent shops, restaurants and multi-national companies stocking fairtrade products.
â€œFairtrade ensures that those producing products under the fairtrade label have a living wage, ensures producers work in a safe, healthy and non exploitative environment,â€ said Mayor Byrne.
â€œIt shows a real partnership between the people who grow and make the products and those who consume products. I would like to thank the hard work of the Limerick Fairtrade Committee for their ongoing work and commitment to Fairtrade,â€ said the Mayor.
The theme for this yearâ€™s Fairtrade Fortnight is â€˜Show of your Fairtrade Labelâ€™ and the Limerick Fairtrade city committee did this by inviting schools, colleges and other organisations to design individual pieces of Fairtrade cotton bunting and then stitching together the individual pieces. Dolores Oâ€™Meara, chair of the Limerick Fairtrade Committee, said there is a particular focus on fairtrade cotton this year due to the plight of African farmers.
â€œThe African cotton farmers do not have the benefit of the subsidies given by USA, China, India and the EU to their cotton farmers. To highlight Fairtrade cotton material, we asked people to make Fairtrade Bunting. We had an overwhelming response to this project,â€ said Ms Oâ€™Meara.
Mateo SebastiÃ¡n, a coffee producer from the Manos Campesinas Cooperative in Guatemala, was a guest speaker at the event. Limerick celebrated its fifth fairtrade birthday last year.