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Wales ahead in bid to be first Fairtrade country

icWales

WALES is battling with the small principality of Liechtenstein in a bid to become the world’s first Fairtrade country.

And yesterday it emerged that Wales has forged ahead of the Alpine nation near Switzerland, now that the large county of Powys has been given status confirming its commitment to ethically produced goods.

The county follows in the footsteps of Denbighshire in North Wales and cities including Cardiff and Swansea in South Wales. It means Wales is now just three towns short of gaining the accolade.

Leslie Ann Dupre, co-ordinator for Fairtrade in Powys, said, “The county-wide criteria was met in Powys, making the declaration of Wales as a Fairtrade country an imminent prospect.

“Only three more towns anywhere in Wales are required to qualify, to get Wales ‘Fairtrade Country’ status.

“It is very likely that Wales will be the first country in the world to get this status, reflecting how far individuals and groups have worked towards establishing Fairtrade in their workplaces, schools and communities, through activities, publicity and county council resolutions.

“I don’t want to say I’m confident in case I jinx it but I am very hopeful that Wales will be first and we are aiming to achieve this before the new year.”

She explained that Powys achieved Fairtrade status this week thanks to achieving a number of goals with a target number of population.

She said, “The county has shown its support for Fairtrade by providing its products in county council canteens, offices and for councillors.

“Cafes and other general canteens in towns across Powys are geared to Fairtrade, such as the Centre for Alternative Technology restaurant and shop in Machynlleth, which has been ahead of the game on this for some time.

“The products must be used by a certain number of work places, schools and churches.

“A local steering group has to be formed to ensure continuation of the scheme and they need to attract media attention and spread awareness about the benefits of Fair Trade.”

She said anyone can convert their workplace to becoming a Fair Trade environment and can receive a certificate on completion.

She added, “People do not have to use just Fairtrade the whole time but it needs to be made available.”

Robert Parker-Munn, a Fairtrade supporter and former mayor of Llanidloes in Powys, added, “Powys has been quite a moving force, by inviting producers from India and Zimbabwe along to show us the good conditions they work under and how they get a fair wage for a day’s work.

“There are areas in the Third World where there is still child labour.

“Becoming a Fairtrade nation is Wales’ chance to make a positive difference to the world.

“It is great to think that our little country can be first, thanks to a lot of people working very hard all over Wales.

“Small producers of the world have always had the odds stacked against them and now the health and education of many communities will benefit.”

A Fairtrade spokesman explained that the Fairtrade mark is an independent consumer label which appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.

He said, “By buying direct from farmers at better prices, helping to strengthen their organisations and marketing their produce directly through their own ‘one world’ shops and catalogues, the charities offered consumers the opportunity to buy products which were bought on the basis of a fair trade.”

Fairtrade Labelling was created in the Netherlands in the late 1980s.

The Max Havelaar Foundation launched the first Fairtrade consumer guarantee label in 1988 on coffee sourced from Mexico.

Today FLO co-ordinates Fair Trade Labelling in 20 countries including the UK.

In Wales, The Fairtrade Foundation said it believed the Dyfi Valley near Machynlleth in West Wales, was the first Fairtrade valley in the UK.

4 Comments

  1. Charmayne

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  2. Charmayne

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  3. Charmayne

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