The food on our tables, the tea and coffee in our mugs, all comes from farmers who toil, sweat and slog. Yet these farmers are trapped in a system that is unfair, one that rips them off. However hard they work to provide the things we depend on, they still aren’t paid what they deserve. And every time people buy these products, they become part of the problem.

In reality, coffee farming is incredibly hard work, and we may forget about what farmers are facing daily. For example, climate change is affecting farmers who are unable to adapt to rising temperatures, and the spread of diseases such as La Roya, which contributes to coffee shrubs’ yield decreasing. Additionally, farmers are facing volatile market prices, coupled with their lack of access to information, weakening their negotiating position. It really is crunch time for farmers. When low prices are paid to farmers, it can have devastating impacts, such as not being able to feed their families, afford medical care, send their children to school or invest in better farming practices.

Fairtrade exists to change this situation and support farmers who are caught in the poverty trap. We want people to understand that by purchasing Fairtrade products, farmers are getting a better deal for what they grow. This leads to a better and more stable income, and can help them break the cycle of poverty they are trapped in. This Fairtrade Fortnight, we’re saying ‘Don’t feed exploitation’, as we urge you to put Fairtrade in your break, and take exploitation out.

Pelican Rouge have done just that, and are acting as part of the solution by offering a wide range of Fairtrade coffee, tea, hot chocolate and sugar products to their customers. And having extensive commitments has led to considerable impacts to producers. Last year Pelican Rouge generated £35,113 in Fairtrade Premium to cocoa producers and £77,684 in Fairtrade Premium to coffee producers around the world, providing life-changing impact to them.

For example, when buying Pelican Rouge’s Doppio coffee, the Fairtrade Premium (an extra sum of money, paid on top of the selling price that farmers and workers invest in business or community projects of their choice) is contributing towards a wide range of projects. These include water cleaning projects in Brazil, a coffee seedling nursery in Indonesia, a scholarship fund for young people to go to university in Colombia and additional crops to diversity farmer’s income in Vietnam. Read more about these cooperatives and Pelican Rouge’s Fairtrade commitments here.

This Fairtrade Fortnight, it’s time to put Fairtrade in your break and take exploitation out. Together we can amplify the voices of millions of marginalised farmers globally and bring a much-needed positive impact. To read more about Fairtrade click here.

Barney Smyth

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