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Phil Soulsby

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Fairtrade Flowers for Valentines Day?

Flower farmers and workers
The cut flower trade is now a major industry in both developing and developed countries, with global trade estimated to be worth more than $100 billion a year. The Netherlands is a major exporter of cut flowers, accounting for 55% of trade followed by Colombia (18%), Ecuador (9%) and Kenya (6%). The major consumptions markets are Germany (19%), USA (17%), UK (16%) and the Netherlands (13%).
The industry is becoming increasingly important to the economies of developing counties, bringing in vital foreign exchange for investment in economic development. Most flowers are produced on commercial farms and provide employment opportunities and improved livelihoods for millions of workers. Colombia’s flower exports, for example, generates an income for around 800,000 people while Kenya’s flower industry provides vital income for up to two million people and is the country’s second largest agricultural foreign exchange earner (after tea) at more than $500 million a year.
The flower industry employs a largely female workforce of poor, less educated and therefore vulnerable workers. It has long had a reputation for poor working conditions including low pay, over-crowded housing and repression of trade unions. Over the past years, conditions have vastly improved for workers in many countries, but there are still challenges.
Fairtrade aims to protect and benefit workers on flowers farms by working with certified farms to ensure decent working conditions for their employees and protecting workers’ rights. These rights encompass economic, environmental and social dimensions of working conditions but also aim to amplify and strengthen the voice and choices of workers’ themselves. A recent study by Fairtrade International with three certified flower plantations in Ecuador, provides useful insight into how workers view their own empowerment and how Fairtrade can support their goals
Fairtrade works with 55 Fairtrade certified flower producer organisations in eight countries, representing 48,500 workers. Fairtrade sales generate an additional Fairtrade Premium for workers to invest in projects of their choice. In 2014, sales of almost 640 million stems meant flower plantation workers received Premium payments of £4.4 million which they spent on education, housing improvements, finance and credit services, as well as supporting education in their communities by renovating school buildings and providing student bursaries.

 This video about Ravine Roses, a Fairtrade certified flower plantation in Kenya, shows the difference that Fairtrade Premium funds have made to worker empowerment and community development in the region. (Source Fairtrade Foundation)

Events

Fairtrade Quiz – 11 March 7pm

Our popular annual quiz to support the local Fairtrade Steering Group. Tickets £12 adults, £6 children, include ploughman’s, cake, tea/coffee, glass of wine/soft drink and a strip of raffle tickets. Tables of 4- 6.

E-mail info@fairtradeguernsey.com to request a table.

Products

Fairtrade Easter Eggs from Divine and The Meaningful Chocolate Co.

Just two of the many Fairtrade Easter Eggs that will be available locally.

Out of the 80 million Easter eggs sold in this part of the world every year, The Real Easter Egg is the only one which has an Easter story booklet in the box, is made of Fairtrade chocolate and makes a donation to charity from its sales. The Real Easter Egg was launched in 2010. It was a real struggle as all the supermarkets turned it down. It was left to churches and church schools to place orders and fund The Meaningful Chocolate Company to begin making The Real Easter Egg. To date,  more than one million eggs have been sold with 750,000 of these sent through the post directly to churches and schools. Not only has there been an increase in Fairtrade chocolate sales, but nearly £250,000 has been donated to charity.

Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 44% owned by cocoa farmers. While Fairtrade ensures farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community, company ownership gives farmers a share of Divine’s profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry. Divine produce a large range of chocolate bars and eggs in different flavours.