Fair Trade Fortnight was launched in Witney by WAFTAG with cakes, campaigning and a choir. The Fair Trade event, held at the High Street Methodist Church on Saturday, proved very popular.
Local children’s choir Songscope opened proceedings with a selection of upbeat songs. There were stalls selling a range of Fairtrade goods and a cake stall groaning under the weight of home-made cakes. The most unusual feature was the smoothie bike, blending smoothies using pedal power!
The campaigning focus of the day was the problem of cheap bananas. Many supermarkets are using bananas as “loss leaders”, offering them below cost price as a way of attracting customers to buy other goods. The price war between supermarkets has seen the retail cost of bananas halve in recent years, while the actual cost of producing them has doubled. This means that many banana farmers are living in poverty. The Stick With Foncho campaign asks Vince Cable as Business Secretary to investigate the impact such low pricing is having on farmers’ lives. 50 people at Saturday’s event signed postcards asking Vince Cable to do just that.
The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the real costs of cheap bananas and encourage consumers to buy Fairtrade. (If you want to be sure of buying Fairtrade bananas, the best supermarkets are Waitrose, Sainsburys and the Co-op, since these three do not sell any non-Fairtrade bananas.)
The event made just under £300 for WAFTAG, which will be spent on Fairtrade projects. To get a flavour of the day, you can watch the video on Witney TV.