Fairtrade America launches a global campaign to make farmers’ voices heard

11 May 2024

Without fairer pay and a proper say in changes that affect them, farmers will still be left behind.

Washington, DC, May 11, 2024 – To mark World Fair Trade Day, Fairtrade America and Fairtrade offices around the globe are launching a worldwide campaign to raise awareness of farmers’ lack of power and influence in global supply chains.

The Make Your Mark campaign highlights the power imbalance that leaves millions of farmers and workers behind our staple food products underpaid and exploited, despite playing a critical role in global food security. This inequality is exacerbated by the climate crisis, which is disproportionately affecting low-income countries.

Fairtrade is asking supporters to commit to three actions for a fairer future by June 11 this year:

·         Choose Fairtrade

·         Spread the Word

·         Vote Fair

“The fact is that farmers lack the representation needed to make their voices heard and ensure their interests are protected, whether that’s in contract negotiations or policymaking. Across Latin America, Asia, and Africa, they are consistently marginalized by powerful business interests in North America and Europe,” said Amanda Archila, Executive Director, Fairtrade America. “Without fairer pay and representation in decision-making that impacts them, particularly decisions and policies related to climate change, millions of farmers and workers will be unable to escape poverty and ensure a brighter future for their families.”

Running across ten markets, thousands of consumers around the world are expected to join together to show their support for farmers through the Make Your Mark campaign. The campaign features a consumer pledge and a series of short films and stories from farmers themselves that unveil the bitter truth behind some of our favorite foods.

Specially-commissioned films featuring Fairtrade farmers show consumers how their choices – buying Fairtrade bananas, coffee or chocolate – can change the lives and futures of farmers, workers, and their communities.

Farmers around the world are struggling with unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change that make it much harder to farm. For the past two years or so, El Niño and La Niña have exacerbated already-abnormal patterns. For example, in Ecuador and Peru, there have been unusually high temperatures and heavy rains, but dry weather in the Dominican Republic and Colombia. Recent news reports have stated droughts across South America resulting from El Niño have led to water rationing, power cuts and forest fires.

Colombian banana farmer Louis Caldo Verduga gave an urgent warning, “It used to be colder and now it’s much hotter. Bit by bit it has continued to become hotter. This could mean the end of the banana. There won’t be water to irrigate them quickly, as it will take several months before the rain fall. The hot sun dries the wells. Pests and diseases spread more easily, and the plants are smaller and thinner.”

Colombian coffee farmer Marlene López Maya, a member of the Red Ecolsierra co-operative said, “[Climate change] makes us feel worried because we don’t have certainty about what will happen with our harvest, and how this harvest we are waiting for will turn out. Receiving fair payment for our coffee means recognition of our work, our effort, recognition of who we are.”

In a message to consumers, López Maya said, “It’s not just a cup of coffee they’re consuming; when they drink that cup of coffee, they’re consuming the efforts of thousands of farmers striving to sell the best quality coffee.”

This World Fair Trade Day, Fairtrade America calls on consumers to prioritize the people behind our food. Committing to the Make Your Mark pledge can help bring us all closer to a fairer world.

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