Balerno Fair Trade Fortnight
For the first time in three years, thanks to the pandemic, Balerno Village Trust held their Fairtrade Fortnight event at the beginning of March. It seemed like most of Balerno was there! Artwork from local schools featured and Joanna assisted in giving out some of the prizes to the children. There were stalls from the Co-op, who had sponsored the prizes, Hadeel and others. Although it was a very friendly and enjoyable morning Fairtrade has a serious message for sustainability in the face of climate change.
Coffee, tea, bananas and chocolate could soon be much more difficult to buy. Climate change is making crops like these harder and harder to grow. Combined with deeply unfair trade, communities growing these crops are being pushed to the brink. Here in Scotland, as a nation of people which has come to love tea, coffee, bananas and cocoa – and as part of a nation which sources many other foods from overseas, these crises will affect us too. If we don’t take action now, availability of products like these could decline to the extent that they become luxury items or completely unavailable to us. For example, if current rates of warming continue, it is predicted that by 2050: as much as 50% of global land currently used for coffee farming may no longer be suitable. Adverse climate conditions will trigger a drastic decline in bananas yields in 10 countries. Many regions in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, who produce over half the world’s cocoa, will become too hot to grow the crop.
Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that farmers receive fair pay, prices, and have power to make their own choices, meet their everyday needs and deal with the challenges posed by climate change. More people choosing Fairtrade means extra income, power and support for those communities. We, in richer, industrialised nations and as contributors to climate change, must also take and urge urgent action to drive down emissions. We must ensure the UK government’s trade policy helps, not hinders, the path to net zero.