Fairtrade Fortnight focuses on banana supply chain

Cllr Michael Sheahan, Mayor of Limerick Metropolitan Area, and Chief Adam Tampuri, Fairtrade Africa, presenting a 'Highly Commended' Medal to Lia Flanagan of Knockea National School. Picture: Alan Place/Fusionshooters
LIMERICK city is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary as a Fairtrade city as a result of the concerted efforts by a group of local people to ensure that Fairtrade produce was made as widely available as possible.

LIMERICK city is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary as a Fairtrade city as a result of the concerted efforts by a group of local people to ensure that Fairtrade produce was made as widely available as possible.

Speaking at the launch, the metropolitan Mayor of Limerick Michael Sheahan, congratulated the Limerick Fairtrade City Committee for “their terrific efforts on behalf of producers in developing countries, as well as acknowledge the committee’s continued engagement with the wider public.

“As important as it is to teach our children about eating healthy food, I think it is equally important that they be taught about where the food is sourced and who produces it.

“Our children are our future. By teaching them well they will lead the way for the next generation. Children nowadays are more worldly wise than previous generations and I have huge confidence in their capacity to embrace the Fairtrade ideal,” he added.

The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is ‘Power in your Pocket’, which “highlights the power of consumers to instigate change,” said Dolores O’Meara, chairperson Limerick Fairtrade City Committee.

“Surveys have shown that the majority of people recognise the Fairtrade symbol. Our next step is to put some Fairtrade items in the shopping basket. We have the power in our pockets to change lives. We can support farmers and workers in developing countries who are trading their way out of poverty. We can do it one purchase at a time,” she said.

The chairperson of Fairtrade Africa, the network representing 860,000 Fairtrade certified producers in Africa, was among the special guests in attendance at the launch of Fairtrade Fortnight in Limerick this week.

Chief Adam Tampuri, who is also a serving board member of Fairtrade International, outlined the success and benefits of the Fairtrade movement in West Africa where 70% of the world’s supply of cocoa is produced.

“In my home country of Ghana, Fairtrade brings together farmers and producer organisations from small communities across the country. In these communities, which are some of the most deprived in my country, Fairtrade premiums have led to the construction of new schools and clinics and the establishing of cooperatives that finance women seeking to develop small businesses within their communities,” stated Chief Tampuri.

Meanwhile, this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight campaign in Ireland focuses on the banana supply chain. “We are asking all of the main retailers to be more transparent about how many Fairtrade bananas they supply. We are also asking retailers to commit to supplying more Fairtrade bananas,” said Melanie Drea, project manager with Fairtrade Ireland.

“Here in Ireland, we consume about five million bananas every week. Unfortunately, only one in 12 bananas is Fairtrade Certified. One of the actions for our campaign is to send a message to the retailers by using a specially designed banana postcard, available on fairtrade.ie, which you can drop into your local store. You can also order your free Fairtrade Fortnight pack, which includes a selection of posters, postcards and the banana fact sheet on our website,” she added.

There are over 1.4 million producers, farmers and workers spread across more than 70 countries in the world participating in Fairtrade. The Limerick Fairtrade City Committee, supported by the environment section of Limerick City and County Council, is hosting a number of Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 events and activities highlighting the good work and challenges faced by Fairtrade producers, farmers and supporters.

This Wednesday, a Fairtrade committee of students from Laurel Hill Secondary School and Laurel Hill Coláiste will host a display of crafts from the Philippines and Brazil in Laurel Hill. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish will host a coffee morning in Garryglass House from 11am on Thursday, February 26.

On Monday, March 2, Mary Immaculate College’s One World Society will create a cardboard tree using Fairtrade teabags as leaves, which students will be encouraged to take home.

The Sit n Sip Café at Our Lady of Lourdes Community Centre in Rosbrien will host a blind tea and coffee tasting challenge from noon on Tuesday, March 3.

On Wednesday, March 4, Mary Immaculate College will hold a teddy bear’s picnic.

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