Fairtrade farmer visits Shirehall to share insights on coffee production
A coffee farmer from Costa Rica provided an insight into the world of Fairtrade coffee production at an event hosted by Shropshire Council and Shropshire Fairtrade Coalition.
Gerardo Arias Camacho was welcomed to Shirehall in Shrewsbury on Monday 25 February as part of Fairtrade Fortnight. Gerardo’s visit coincided with the good news that Shropshire has just had its Fairtrade County status renewed for a further two years.
At the ‘Where does your coffee come from?’ event, Gerardo shared how he is a board member of his local coffee co-operative based around the village of Llano Bonito, in San José state. The Llano Bonito co-operative is one of 10 members of COOCAFE, a larger co-operative that represents 3,800 farmers, across four states. COOCAFE has been Fairtrade certified since 1989 and in 2010 sold around 1,100 tonnes of coffee to Fairtrade buyers.
Gerardo’s visit to Shropshire, which is courtesy of The Fairtrade Foundation, features further events and activities in four Shropshire Fairtrade towns – Shrewsbury, Whitchurch, Bridgnorth and Ludlow – including meeting pupils and teachers at Fairtrade schools.
Rachel Strivens, Shropshire Council’s sustainability manager, said:
“It is wonderful that Gerardo is spending time in Shropshire to tell us more about coffee production and how being part of a Fairtrade co-operative had made a difference to his life. It’s also great that he’s here at the same time we’ve been informed that Shropshire’s Fairtrade County Status has been renewed thanks to everyone’s efforts across the county.
“Fairtrade is about making trade fair for everyone, but especially the farmers and workers in the developing world. We are privileged to be able to hear Gerardo’s first-hand insights into how the Fairtrade initiative is ensuring farmers receive a minimum price and that there is investment in business development and community or environmental programmes for these communities.”
Adam Gardner, communities campaigns manager, Fairtrade Foundation, in the letter accompanying the renewal certificate, said:
“It has been a huge pleasure to learn of all that has happened since you last renewed Fairtrade County status and please pass on our congratulations and thanks to everyone who has put so much time, energy and creativity into making Fairtrade a part of the area.”
The Shrewsbury town mayor, Shrewsbury town crier, Shropshire councillors, representatives from retail organisations and Fairtrade organisations were among those at this week’s reception.
David Nuttall, Catering Manager from Harper Adams University kindly organised Fairtrade food and drink for the event, using vouchers provided by Midcounties Co-op and donations from his own suppliers. Harper Adams is Shropshire’s only university and has Fairtrade status.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 is running from Monday 25 February until Sunday 10 March.
The Shropshire Fairtrade Coalition is a group of individuals, organisations and businesses from around Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin whose aim is to help promote Fairtrade.
After a two year campaign Shropshire, including Telford & Wrekin, gained Fairtrade County status from the Fairtrade Foundation in 2007, and this was renewed in 2008 and again in 2011. Shropshire’s Fairtrade County status is now reviewed every two years.
For more details on the Shropshire Fairtrade Coalition and Fairtrade Fortnight events in the county go to www.shropshire-fairtrade.org.uk
The Fairtrade Foundation is the independent non-profit organisation that licenses use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products in the UK in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade standards. For more information on the Fairtrade Foundation go to www.fairtrade.org.uk
The photo shows (from left to right): Rachel Strivens, sustainability manager, Shropshire Council; Ken Pattison, secretary of Shropshire Fairtrade Coalition; Gerardo Arias Camacho; Marion Matthias, a director of Shrewsbury Fairtrade and Clive Wright, operations director, Shropshire Council.