The World Fairtrade Challenge weekend saw nearly 50,000 Australians joining in a country-wide celebration of the difference Fairtrade is making for farmers and workers worldwide. Events ranged from a market held by the Melbourne Cricket Club at the MCG, to morning teas in some of the most remote parts of the country including Kalgoorlie, Lightning Ridge, Rapid Creek and Broome.
Around the world, 2 million Fairtrade supporters in 43 countries gathered for Fairtrade events, making this the largest Fairtrade celebration ever held.
This year’s event from 12-14 May built on the success of last year’s inaugural World Fairtrade Challenge, where coffee lovers drank more than 5 million cups of Fairtrade coffee. Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand CEO Molly Harriss Olson says the success of the events reflects the ever-increasing support consumers are showing for Fairtrade products.
“Thanks to consumers across Australia, we have almost doubled our support to farmers and cooperatives in the last five years alone,” says Harriss Olson.
In 2015, the AU$169 billion global Fairtrade Premium, the extra sum of money provided to farming cooperatives, enabled 1.6 million farmers and workers in 75 countries to invest in building stronger farming organisations, improving crop productivity, and in providing better education, healthcare and housing within their communities.
Ms Harriss Olson adds that, “While we celebrated how far we’ve come collectively in the past three decades, and in particular in the past five years here in Australia, it is also vital to consider what else we can do to empower farmers, workers and cooperatives to boost their production and enable them to increase their earning capacity. The World Fairtrade Challenge was the perfect opportunity to do just that.”
Farmers and workers join in the celebrations
Farmers and workers in more than ten countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia joined in the Fairtrade Celebrations, with South Africa, Chile and Colombia among the countries hosting events.
“It’s fantastic to see so many supporters, producers, and politicians coming together around the world to celebrate the successes of Fairtrade, and to encourage more people to join us, said Dario Soto Abril, Global CEO of Fairtrade International.
Cocoa farmer Albert from Coopérative Agricole N'Zrama de N'Douci, a Fairtrade cooperative in Côte d’Ivoire said, “Cocoa enables me to support the needs of my family, to feed myself, get healthcare; cocoa is everything for me! Cocoa enables me to educate my children.”
Albert’s co-operative provides schooling loans at the beginning of each year. “Getting together for work and making profits allows us to accomplish important projects, like the construction of a school in the village… More sales of Fairtrade cocoa would enable me to better support my family."
Find out more about the outcomes of the World Fairtrade Challenge on the global map here: www.fairtradechallenge.org.au