Fruit and vegetables from many countries around the world are found in our shops each day. Bananas first appeared in British shops in the year 1633.
Today, out of every £1 we pay for some bananas, only 11p goes to those who have grown and picked them in faraway countries. The other 89p goes to all the ‘middlemen’ – including those who export and process the coffee beans, and those who package the jars and sell them. Out of every £1 we spend on jars of coffee, only 8p goes to those who grow the coffee.
More and more people are trying to be sure that workers in distant countries are paid fairly for the goods that come to us. The ‘Fairtrade Foundation‘ was set up in 1992 by Christian Aid, Oxfam, and CAFOD. Fairtrade products include tea, coffee and chocolate, and they are to be found in most major supermarkets, with a Fairtrade label on them. The Fairtrade label guarantees that checks have been made to ensure fair wages, decent working conditions, good health and safety standards, and long-term contracts. (Coffee from Fairtrade is served in the House of Commons.)
In Fleet, Sue Moll is our local Fairtrade representative, trading as Asvanna Fairtrade. She is to be found at many venues, including a regular stall in the Hart Shopping Centre beginning on the first Tuesday in the month and continuing to the end of the week. Sue holds a lot of stock for: traidcraft.co.uk; nomadsclothing; createdgifts.org; and braintreeclothing, and she is happy to order for you. She can also be contacted through her facebook page for asvanna fairtrade.
Let us simply spend a few moments in silence, reflecting on how wealthy we are, compared with the majority of people throughout the world.
Let us pray:
Lord, that we may live simply
so that others may simply live.