Brent prepares for Fairtrade Fortnight amidst Covid and Brexit

Mayor of Brent Councillor Ernest Ezeajughi at the launch of a Fairtrade exhibition at Brent Civic Centre in March 2020.

Mayor of Brent Councillor Ernest Ezeajughi at the launch of a Fairtrade exhibition at Brent Civic Centre in March 2020. - Credit: Brent Fairtrade

Volunteers are preparing for a fortnight dedicated to Fairtrade next month, as Covid-19, Brexit and climate change are poised to make a “huge impact” on world trade.

Peter Moore, chair of Brent Fairtrade Network, said coronavirus restrictions have placed serious constraints on producers and led to a “substantial loss of income” for farmers worldwide.

Fairtrade International has set up funds which are “providing immediate relief”, as well as investment for recovery from the pandemic.

Brexit will also have an impact and Peter said Britain has “to set up trade agreements with every other trading bloc in the world in a way that doesn't disadvantage poorer countries such as Ghana”.

There isn't a detailed agreement in place between the UK and Ghana but Peter said: "All Ghanaian products face tariffs, which, in case of bananas, is nine-and-a-half pence per kilogram. That’s going to make a big difference in the shops.”


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Peter said that perhaps the most important issue of all is the environment.

“In [places like] Kenya, global warming is something that farmers say is their number one current problem...In 30 years time, 50 per cent of all the land in the world that's at present used for growing coffee will no longer be able to grow coffee," he said. "All those people have to move.”

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He said the extra money Fairtrade farmers receive for their work - known as the Fairtrade Premium - is “enabling them to have more resources [and] a bit more strength to tackle whatever problems come their way”. 

The Brent network hopes to make the most of the opportunities provided by online events when Fairtrade Fortnight begins on February 22.

“We're going to try and set up links between Fairtrade producers or spokespeople in Africa or Asia, schools and brands. We’ve got some promising possibilities,” said Peter. The hope is that students could “talk directly with people who are picking their tea, or growing their bananas”.

“What's really exciting is the way you can move away from that sort of colonial model...to something that's much more equal," he said. "We're all using the same internet, we're all equal online.”

Go to https://twitter.com/BrentFairtrade to follow Brent Fairtrade Network on Twitter.

READ MORE: Covid-hit community kitchen reopens amid ‘heartrending’ rise in demand

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