Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, is meeting Frank Olok, Coordinator of Malawi Fairtrade Network, to hear about the challenges facing smallholder farmers during Fairtrade Fortnight (25 February – 10 March).
The theme of Fairtrade Fortnight is Go Further for Fairtrade and Frank has been asking MPs to do more to support Fairtrade in the coming year.
The Fairtrade Foundation has launched a new campaign for Fairtrade Fortnight calling for urgent action to support the 500m smallholder farmers who produce 70% of the world’s food, but are currently half the world’s hungry people. Frank Olok presented a copy of the report to launch the campaign, Powering up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair, to Mr Gwynne. The report says that, even when smallholder farmers are producing cash crops at the sharp end of lucrative international supply chains, the global food system still fails them.
The campaign launches a five-point agenda for action and is calling on David Cameron to use his influence, when the UK hosts the G8 summit in Northern Ireland in June, to put smallholder farmers into the heart of governments’ trade policy and international and national business practice.
Frank Olok, whose network in Malawi represents around 10 Fairtrade producer organisations with a joint membership of 22,000 farmers explains:
“The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness about the daily plight of farmers in developing countries who are amongst the poorest people in the world. Despite growing most of the world’s food they still struggle to make a sustainable living, get access to finance and improve their and their communities’ economic, and, social situation.”
The report highlights how much we rely on smallholder farmers for our everyday foods. Around 30 million smallholders produce most of the world’s coffee and cocoa foods, while tens of millions more produce tea, bananas and sugar.