GOWER Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has marked Fairtrade Fortnight by meeting Father John Joseph, a spice and coffee farmer from Wayanad in the state of Kerala, India.
Fr Joseph set up an Organic Farmers Fair Trade Association called WOFFA in 2008 as a way of organising farming families to gain knowledge and tackle the challenges they face, such as cycles of debt and over-use of chemicals and pesticides.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “During his visit to Wales, Fr Joseph met with Welsh farmers to compare experiences. Whilst there are obviously great differences in the lives that farmers in Wales and India lead, what is universal is that every farmer should receive fair price for their produce.”
Talking about the benefits of the Fairtrade movement, Father John Joseph said: “Being part of a Fairtrade organization has helped farmers like myself to create a positive cycle of investment. The communities are also able to invest in better farming practices, training and workshops, which in turn increases production and efficiency. Almost 20% of the members are women.
“Using Fairtrade Premiums WOFFA has been able to grant the financial support for making the compost for farmer groups, which provides higher yields. This makes the farm more productive, and ensures a higher return to the farmer.”
Rebecca Evans added: “In Wales, we have made great strides in the area of Fairtrade. Indeed, Wales became the first ever Fairtrade nation in June 2008. I was also recently delighted to celebrate the fact that Swansea has retained its Fairtrade city status.
“We must continue to work for a global Fairtrade response for farmers at home and abroad.”