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From Western Ghana to Westminster--Gill meets Fairtrade farmers

March 10, 2005 10:16 AM

Parmjit Singh Gill MP has been working for Fairtrade farmersYesterday in Westminster, Parmjit Singh Gill, Member of Parliament for Leicester South, met with Fairtrade Cocoa farmers from Western Ghana. The farmers are currently touring different venues in London as part of the national Fairtrade Fortnight 2005 (1st-13th March). The theme of this years fortnight is 'Check Out Fairtrade' which aims to make a direct link between cocoa growers and UK chocolate lovers, and give a compelling reason to switch to Fairtrade products in supermarkets and food stores.

Parmjit has supported an Early Day Motion 797 welcoming the Fairtrade Fortnight. He is also continuing to campaign within Westminster for all tea and coffee sold to be fairtrade, and has supported an EDM calling for all the shops to do so in the near future.

Parmjit also attended the Leicester Advocating Fairtrade AGM, recently on February the 9th. The group discussed how to further encourage support for Fairtrade products throughout Leicester.

Fairtrade Facts and Figures:

§ Leicester is a designated Fairtrade City.

§ Fairtrade Fortnight this year also embraces Red Noise Day on March 11th, with the Dubble chocolate brand. It's cocoa is Fairtrade sourced and recommended by Comic Relief.

§ UK Fairtrade sales top £140m for 2004 - a 51% rise since 2003.

§ Numbers of Fairtrade certified products rise from 150 in 2003 to 834 today.

After meeting Anna Awere, a Cocoa Farmer from Western Ghana, Parmjit said,

"With the UK chocolate market alone worth £3.9 billion a year, it's crazy the farmers who make that possible are not fairly rewarded.

"This initiative means that farmers like Anna share in the company's profits, and are fairly rewarded for their efforts.

"Let's hope more shops around the country will follow the fantastic example of Leicester, and make these goods widely available."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The Divine range and Dubble carry the Fairtrade Mark. This is an independent guarantee from the Faritrade Foundation that the chocolate is made with the cocoa beans bought under internationally agreed Fairtrade terms and conditions. These include a guaranteed, secure price above the world market price for cocoa, an extra social premium payment, long term trading contracts, decent health and safety conditions and a commitment to support for community programmes aimed at empowering farmers to increase theirs abilities to be self sufficient.

2. Dubble and the Divine range are produced by The Day Chocolate Company. The Day Chocolate Company is a third-owned by Kuapa Kokoo, the co-operative of over 45,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana who grow the Fairtrade beans for Divine and Dubble. The Day Chocolate Company is also owned by the Twin Trading and The Body Shop International, and is supported by Christian Aid and Comic Relief.

3. Co-op Stores nationwide exclusively stock Fairtrade chocolate, and their own-brand chocolate range is supplied by Day Chocolate.

4. The UK chocolate market alone is worth approximately £3.9 billion a year: if Fairtrade products can capture even a small proportion of that market, producers in developing countries gain real benefits.

5. Fairtrade Fortnight CHECK OUT FAIRTRADE

a. Promoted around the country by groups including development agencies, women's organisaitons, churches and church-related organizations and the UNISON and PCS trade unions.

b. An estimated 7,500 events will take place across the country over the fortnight.

6. Leicester City Council Fairtrade website can be found at:

http://www.leicester.gov.uk/departments/page.asp?pgid=7656

7. Fairtrade City's are listed at:

http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/downloads/pdf/Fairtrade_towns_list.pdf

8. EDM 797 "NATIONAL FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT"

That this House welcomes the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight on 1st March; recognises that the Fairtrade mark is the only independent guarantee of a fair deal for farmers in developing countries; notes the difference which can be made to producers in the developing world when towns and cities across the UK achieve Fairtrade status; welcomes the news that by the end of Fairtrade Fortnight 100 towns and cities across the UK will have reached Fairtrade status and that over 220 further towns and cities are actively running Fairtrade campaigns; welcomes the Department for International Development's support for the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK; and calls on the Government to continue to raise awareness and actively encourage schools, local authorities and retailers to adopt fair trade principles.

9. EDM 831 "FAIR TRADE IN THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER", which calls for all tea and coffee to be fair-trade in Westminster:

That this House congratulates fair trade organisations on their success in increasing fair trade purchases by 50 per cent. in the past year, with consumers in the UK spending £140 million last year on fairly traded goods, more than in any other country; further notes that fair trade goods have been available in the Palace of Westminster for several years; but calls upon the Refreshment Departments of the two Houses to ensure that all tea and coffee sold in the Palace is exclusively fairly traded.