Arran children learn the benefits of Fairtrade

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By Colin Smeeton

Children in primary schools on Arran have been learning about the benefits of Fairtrade products and ethical trading practises as part of a campaign highlighting , among others, the plight of women cocoa farmers.

Taking place during the recent Fairtrade Fortnight the initiative is aimed at celebrating the farmers and workers who grow the food we eat and promote a living wage through fair trade and there were displays at the Arran Library and the the Big Co in Brodick.

The children enjoyed learning about the campaign by taking part in various fun activities with the favourite undoubtedly being the tasting of Fairtrade hot chocolate, chocolate and bananas which were donated by the Brodick Co-op.

The Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘She Deserves’ campaign reveals that women cocoa farmers carry the greatest burden and yet get the least reward. It aims to raise awareness amongst consumers of the challenges facing them. They work in the fields, look after children, do all the chores and the lion’s share of labour involved in bringing cocoa crops to market but have fewer rights than men and rarely own land, and therefore get even less of the profits from cocoa.

Michael Gidney, CEO Fairtrade Foundation, said: ‘As a nation of chocolate lovers, it is shocking that the women who grow and harvest the cocoa that goes into our treats are barely able to put food on the table nor send their kids to school – the majority of us think the exploitation they suffer is unacceptable. We can all take action today by supporting this campaign and by putting Fairtrade chocolate in our shopping baskets.

‘Everyone is entitled to a decent income, it is a human right. As a country we’ve signed up to end poverty by 2030, but that won’t happen unless people earn more for the work they do.

The UK chocolate industry is worth £4 billion each year. Cadbury’s, the largest chocolate maker, is now working in partnership with the Fairtrade foundation, to develop their ‘Cocoa Life’ programme. Launched in Ghana in 2008 as the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, Cocoa Life has already been rolled out across more than 795 cocoa farming communities around the world and independent verification shows that farmers’ in the Cocoa Life programme in Ghana have seen their incomes increase 49 per cent more than farms outside the programme.

Mr Gidney added: ‘We are proud to have worked closely with Cadbury since 2009 to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities. But the reality is that life for too many cocoa farmers remains a daily struggle against poverty, whilst their communities still lack many essential services and climate change poses increasing threats to their livelihoods and future.

‘The evolution of our partnership with Cadbury and Cocoa Life is an exciting development as it embeds Fairtrade, our values, principles and unique relationships with farmer networks into the whole programme. In doing so, together we can increase the scale and impact of Cocoa Life, towards a common goal – one in which cocoa farmers, their organisations and communities are empowered, can invest in their own futures, and go from just surviving, to thriving.’

Kilmory Primary pupils take part in an interactive lesson on poverty. No_B10fair01

Kilmory Primary pupils enjoy testing the Fairtrade bananas. No_B10fair02

Kilmory Primary pupils take part in fun activities while enjoying a nibble of Fairtrade chocolate. No_B10fair03

Shiskine Primary pupils tuck in to Fairtrade products during their Fairtrade coffee morning. No_B10fair04

Pupils at Shiskine Primary are joined by parents and teachers during a lesson on Fairtrade. No_B10fair05

Shiskine pupils present their lesson on the poverty endured by farmers and children. No_B10fair06

Corrie Primary pupils were more than happy to taste test Fairtrade chocolate. No_B10fair07

Engaged in fun learning activities Corrie Primary pupils act out a short sketch. No_B10fair08