Meet Nioka, one of the Windward Islands banana farmers. Nioka is 43 years of age, a single mum with four sons. She loves cooking, while her sons love playing football. A Long Day! Nioka starts her day at dawn, by getting breakfast ready for both her and her 4 boys. At 6am she sets to work, she works on her farm until 11am when she needs to prepare and cook lunch for her family. After lunch it is straight back to it until 5pm, super time. Throughout the week she has to plant and tend to the bananas, with Mondays and Tuesdays requiring the crops to be picked. Once the bananas have been harvested they have to be graded, washed and packed ready to be exported to the UK. ‘Bananas are my livelihood’ Nioka is 1 of 605 small farmers, many of whom are women, who are registered with, The Windward Island’s Farmers Assossciation. How can she afford to buy her land? Nioka rents her two acre plot of land from the Government. She has been a banana farmer for 13 years, the last 2 she has been selling to the Fairtrade Market. Being a banana farmer is a very demanding and tedious job, but it gives Nioka a sense of independence and a way of earning a living. She does have help from her three eldest sons. Without her business she would have no hope for the future.
How Fairtrade helps. Before Fairtrade life for Nioka and her family was very hard, hard to make a decent living and to have any kind of social life. Nioka believes that being a member of Fairtrade has allowed her to get a fair price and save more money. Using it to help pay for her son’s education and for her to enjoy some kind of a social life.
Have a look in your dictionary for the meaning of ‘fair’ and ‘trade’. FairTrade What do you think the term ‘Fairtrade’ might mean?
On your next visit to the supermarket or a restaurant or even your local café have a look to see if you can spot any Fairtrade products being sold. Remember this is the Fairtrade mark you are looking for, More and more products are now carrying the Fairtrade mark, they now have over 1,000! See if you can find some of the following products, coffee tea chocolate bananas sugar other fresh and dried fruits juices cakes Can you add to the list? cotton clothes
You are opening a Fairtrade Restaurant in your local town, you need to plan your menu so that you are using as many Fairtrade products as you can.
It gives farmers a better quality of life. It allows farmers to have a fair price for their products, so that they can pay their bills, support their families and invest in a better future. It allows them to have better working conditions. It gives them the right to join unions. Children are now able to go to school, instead of having to work on the farms. www.fairtrade.org