You might have seen the logo – stuck to bananas, in the corner of chocolate bars or perhaps on the label of jars of coffee or boxes of tea stacked on the supermarket shelves. But have you ever wondered exactly what the table ‘Fairtrade banana’ means and who it helps? Clara Wiggins explains all.
Until recently I lived in St Lucia, a small island in the Eastern Caribbean. A beautiful piece of paradise, St Lucia is one of the many islands in that part of the world that has relied for years on a combination of income from tourism and the sales of its fruit and vegetables – specifically bananas – to gives its people a reasonable standing of living. Life on these small islands is tough, they are very vulnerable to things like hurricanes and outside events that stop tourists coming on holiday. But as long as people bought their produce, the people of St Lucia were able to get by and children were able to go to school and get a good education.
Unfortunately, things changed. A few years ago, a change in trade laws meant that the UK stopped buying so many of their bananas from St Lucia and other islands in that part of the Caribbean – known as the Windward Islands – and started buying more of them from Latin America and West Africa.
Supermarkets in this country also became increasingly competitive and wanted to offer their customers cheaper produce to buy. As bananas have always traditionally been one of the most popular items for supermarket shoppers, these were offered at lower and lower prices – meaning the farmers who were growing them were getting paid less and all the people who relied on their income were finding it harder and harder to survive.
This is where Fairtrade stepped in. As an organisation, the Fairtrade Foundation ensures that farmers and other producers are offered a fair and stable price for their goods – and at the same time help improve the working and living conditions of the workers and their families.
After the changes to the trading laws meant fewer bananas were bought from St Lucia and the other islands, the number of banana farmers dropped from 27,000 to around 4,000 – which led to high unemployment, youth unrest and an increase in poverty. But the first consignment of Fairtrade bananas was shipped to the UK in 2000 and since then volumes have grown until today more than 90% of the farmers in the Windwards belong to a Fairtrade group. The knowledge that they will get a good price for their fruit has changed the lives of the farmers. Now they can afford things that we take for granted, like health care and decent education for their children. It also means they can use the money to invest in expanding into other areas and hopefully build back up the number of people employed in this work.
Of course Fairtrade isn’t just about bananas from the Caribbean – you can now buy a huge range of goods including chocolate, flowers, rice, sugar, even beauty products all stamped with the Fairtrade logo from countries across the globe. And every time you do so, you know you are helping someone like the banana farmers to build a better future for themselves and their families.
But as well as buying Fairtrade goods, another way to get involved is to turn your own school into a Fairtrade school.
A Fairtrade school is one that uses Fairtrade products as far as possible, commits itself to learning about how global trade works and why Fairtrade is important and takes action for Fairtrade in the school and wider community. Already, there are nearly 500 schools with Fairtrade status, with many more going through the process to gain certification.
As well as all the obvious reasons for doing it – ie helping the world become a fairer place and helping to reduce poverty – being part of a campaign to get your own school to become a Fairtrade School has many benefits closer to home. It could help you to develop your own skills, have a positive influence on your local school community and – above all – it can be great fun.
For more information on Fairtrade schools you can check out the Fairtrade Schools website
Check out the Fairtrade website to find out what other goods are available.
Traidcraft is anorganisation that campaigns for Fairtrade and can help your school to become a Fairtrade school.
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Clara is a trained journalist who worked in newspapers for several years before leaving the profession to travel round the world. On her return to the UK, she joined the Foreign Office where she worked in London and then at the British High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2005 she had her first daughter, followed by her second in 2007. She left the FCO to become a stay at home mother and to accompany her husband on postings to Pakistan and St Lucia. Now living back in the UK, she is currently training to be an antenatal teacher, writing freelance and planning a book about trailing spouses.
Genetics is the study of how genes are inherited in a population. A scientist interested in genetics is a geneticist. If something is genetic, that means it is passed to you by your Mum and Dad. You inherit genes from your parents.
Genes control most aspects of human life, from eye colour to how fast you can run. There are some fun ways to demonstrate genetics in your own family.
Take tongue rolling. The ability to roll your tongue is what we call a dominant trait. If you have the gene for tongue rolling you will be able to roll your tongue.
Sally-Anne was out and about in Australian, and took us along on a virtual trip. She shared her first impressions of the country, and then her love of the city of Melbourne.
In this report, she explains why she went to Australia alone, and what it is like to travel without companions.
If you’ve been reading some of my reports from Australia, you’d be forgiven for wondering why I haven’t mentioned any of the people I’m travelling with. That’s because there isn’t anyone, I’m on this trip all by myself. I wasn’t too worried before I came because I’m quite used to doing things alone. I live in my own flat, I went to a different high school to everyone I knew from primary school and I quite often go and visit places by myself, but I’d never travelled alone. In fact, I’d never been outside of Europe at all, even with other people, so the whole trip was a bit nerve-wracking, if exciting.
Do you want to save money and still look good? Do you want to be original but not so weird-looking people scatter when you approach?
We’ve already looked at the trend towards vintage clothes but how do you make sure you’re more chic than geek? Here’s my take on successful charity shop hopping. Perhaps you have some more you could add?
Yesterday we heard the sad story of the lamb that did not survive. Rosie’s mum has been in touch to tell us how the other little lambs are doing.
As you can see from the pictures, they are all doing great. It was cold on the farm yesterday, as the family went about their duties, making sure the sheep and lambs were healthy and content.
Rosie’s dad has been ploughing the fields, and getting ready to sew oats and barley. Do you know what they look like?
Can you see the difference between the two photos?
There is always work to be done on the Farm, and it is not a 9am to 5pm job. It is a way of life.
Rosie and her family are going to find out whether the lambs are male of female and have asked Jump! readers to help name them. The lambs are named in alphabetical order, so this year their names should start with a “D”.
What do you think? What names do you like?
Leave a comment to suggest a name and Rosie will pick the names she likes best.