Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Why the climate revolution must be a fair revolution

Climate change isn’t fair. The people at the heart of the Fairtrade movement; poor farmers and workers in developing countries – those who have done the least to cause the mess – are at the very frontline of the emerging crisis. The increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and extremes are already damaging their livelihoods and wellbeing.
Willington Wamayeye, Managing Director of Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative, and a supplier to Caf├ędirect says ‘Rains now fall heavily for a short period and our dry season is much longer. The coffee plants are badly affected – flowering is stopping. Last year alone we lost about 40% of our production.’

Small scale farmers are at a disadvantage when it comes to adapting to a changing climate because without the resources to support a switch, it is too risky to change to growing other more resilient crops. Rural areas rarely have the insurance and credit services small farmers need to support them adapt. Florence Madamu from Bulihere in Uganda explains: ‘We used to plant in March and that would be it. Now we plant and plant again. We waste a lot of seeds… Then we have to plan to acquire other seeds and the seeds here are very costly. Sometimes you feel like crying.’

Fairtrade is one way we can support disadvantaged producers as the climate begins to change. The minimum price and Fairtrade premium allows farmers to invest in trying different crops and strengthening their businesses. Some producer groups have used the premium to set up micro finance schemes and found ways to reduce their carbon emissions.

But there are other ways the Fairtrade system itself can develop to help farmers adapt. Some ideas already in discussion include:
  • developing new credit schemes and ways of financing producers, 
  • building on schemes in place already such as the Technical Assistance Fund for African producers; 
  • creating partnerships like Caf├ędirect’s innovative AdapCC programme, (www.adapcc.org) to help channel funds directly to vulnerable communities, and
  • putting Fairtrade, and more broadly, equity and fairness, at the heart of what it means to be sustainable. 

We want to encourage shoppers to increase their social footprint – buy less, but buy better.

Read a full discussion paper at www.fairtrade.org.uk/climatereport and email us your suggestions for how Fairtrade as a whole can respond to climate change climatechange@fairtrade.org.uk

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Springtime in the Small World

We've had a lovely Fairtrade Fortnight!  

 
The first ever World Book Night was lots of fun - hopefully it will be an annual event.  

We were delighted to meet Ken Mkangala from Malawi on his Producer Tour of Scotland.

Our Open Day on Saturday 12th gave us a chance to talk to Fiona O'Donnell MP about Fairtrade and we look forward to welcoming her back to she shop soon.

Of course, we met lots of customers, old and new, gave out information, free samples, supplied coffee mornings, tuck shops and fayres, and our volunteers gave talks at schools throughout the county.

In the gardens of Orchard Crescent, the crocuses and daffodils are appearing.

The shop itself has had a bit of a spring makeover with a new kitchen for those all important cups of Fairtrade tea and coffee that keep the volunteers happy while pricing stock.

There has been a lot of new stock arriving from India recently. Our gift range is proving very popular so if something takes your fancy, don't leave it too long before you pop in - these papier mache cat boxes are going fast!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Nuts about Fairtrade

Volunteers joined members of the public in Prestonpans library today to hear a talk by Ken Mkangala, the Manager of the Ntchisi Macadamia Co-operative Union office in Malawi.

The Ntchisi Co-operative has been working with Edinburgh-based Equal Exchange, assisted by a Scottish Government grant, using the Fair Trade model as a way to enable farmers in Malawi to better understand markets and to empower smallholders to become more than just producers of a commodity. You can see the film here:


We will shortly be stocking Macadamia nuts in the Small World.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

World Book Night

On Saturday, 5 March 2011, two days after World Book Day, the Small World shop was proud to take part in the first ever World Book Night when one million books were given away by an army of passionate readers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland.

 

The book give-away will comprise 40,000 copies of each of the 25 carefully selected titles, were given away by 20,000 ‘givers’, who each distributed 48 copies of their chosen title on World Book Night. The remaining books were distributed by World Book Night itself in places that might otherwise be difficult to reach, such as prisons and hospitals.
At our base in 9A Orchard Crescent, we gave away copies of David Mitchell's masterpiece "Cloud Atlas", had a glass or two of Fairtrade wine and listened to author Annemarie Allan read from her latest work in progress.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on World Book Night!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Meet the Producer Tour - Prestonpans Library

Ken Mkangala, the Manager of the Ntchisi Macadamia Co-operative Union office in Malawi, will be talking about using the Fair Trade model:

What: Producer Talk & Launch of Honesty Box Scheme
Where: Prestonpans Library, Ayres Wynd, Prestonpans
When: 4p.m. Tuesday 8th March 2011


The Ntchisi Co-operative has been working with Edinburgh-based Equal Exchange, assisted by a Scottish Government grant, using the Fair Trade model as a way to enable farmers in Malawi to better understand markets and to empower smallholders to become more than just producers of a commodity. 



Macadamias grow at altitude (500m – 1500m) and assist soil and water conservation. They require only low inputs, just a top dressing of organic matter is sufficient to support the trees. With the changing patterns of rainfall that Malawi is experiencing, macadamias drought resistance makes it an ideal crop for farmers who wish to diversify.