This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 26th February to 11th March to highlight the importance of fair trade to those involved within the movement and to encourage more people to participate worldwide.
Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer looks at the benefits of the Fair trade movement and how it benefits the lives of millions across the globe.
WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
Fairtrade is a thriving organisation with huge momentum, improving the lives of millions of workers who have been exploited for many years in developing countries. For example, many tea or coffee growers would previously have had to sell their produce for less than market value. However, as part of the Fairtrade movement, farmers are now able to sell at a fair price. The additional revenue generated has enabled workers to further invest in, among other things, their tea and coffee plantations, which in turn has helped improve the infrastructure of towns and villages, especially in the areas of education and water supplies.
DID YOU KNOW?
AROUND 70,000 CUPS OF TEA ARE DRUNK PER SECOND AROUND THE WORLD!
Tea is vitally important for many economies, so it’s interesting to understand a little more about its production and how it can benefit from the involvement of the Fairtrade movement. Successful plantations are dependent on a number of factors being right, especially their location. The altitude, climate (including extremes of seasonal changes), harvesting methods (including plucking and leaf processing) as well as storage and transportation, all have a bearing on the success of the plantation.
Interestingly, methods of tea production vary according to the type of tea. For example, green tea leaves are picked and then left out to dry (generally in the sunlight) before being put into hot roasting tins. After being rolled, they are then further heat-treated which produces green, slightly withered tealeaves. However, green tea is high in antioxidants because the leaves are not allowed to oxidise in the atmosphere for long, after harvest.
Conversely, black tea leaves are left in the sunlight before being rolled and allowed to absorb oxygen in moist, humid conditions. The leaves are then oxidised or fermented, which eventually makes the leaves turn black. Hence black tea does not contain the high levels of antioxidants found in green tea.
With Fairtrade supporting tea plantations, for example, more of the production processes can eventually be mechanised, increasing output but also achieving a fair price for the farmers.
DID YOU KNOW?
THERE ARE OVER 1,226 FAIRTRADE CERTIFIED PRODUCER ORGANISATIONS IN 74 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD
To find out more about the movement visit the fair trade website