A campaign to help the world’s hungriest people is stepping up a gear. Launched during Fairtrade Fortnight earlier this year, the “Make Food Fair” campaign, seeks to change the lives of smallholder farmers around the world, and now its Fairtrade Foundation organisers are planning to take a petition to Downing Street. They will be calling on David Cameron to champion a better deal for the world’s smallholder farmers at this year’s G8 meeting which takes place in June in Northern Ireland.
“Despite producing some 70 per cent of the world’s food, over half of the world’s hungriest people are smallholder farmers who struggle to earn a living from their crops,” says Karen Palframan, chair of Fairtrade Ilkley and Fairtrade Bradford, “and unless they receive support and improvements to terms of trade, they will remain in crisis, due to an unjust food system. The farmers still only get a tiny proportion of what we pay for our food and agriculture needs to be made much more sustainable to create food security.”
The Fairtrade Foundation’s model seeks to show that a minimum price along with access to pre-financing can improve farmers’ negotiating power, empowering them to build business partnerships which in turn enable them to secure fair prices. A minimum price for produce, covering sustainable costs of production, enables smallholders to invest in their farms and communities while protecting them from high price volatility.
The petition will be handed in just before World Fair Trade Day which is on 11th May. To publicise it, a small army of 5,000 paper mini marchers descended on Parliament Square in London in March. The mini marchers could be customised to resemble their real life counterparts, so Jonathan Ross, Eddie Izzard, Amanda Holden and Tulisa were amongst those represented.
And the mini marchers have not stopped yet. Restless in their quest, they are stomping their little paper feet and seeking other allies, travelling around the UK in their efforts to collect more petition signatures.