Archive for May, 2020

Fairtrade during lockdown

It’s often said that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, but all evidence shows that it does affect some people worse than others. People who can’t work from home, who live in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions, and who have underlying health conditions are worse affected. All of these apply to the people who live in low income countries and who fair trade is designed to support and help. There have been some fantastic responses from Fairtrade organisations around the world, and very quickly the rules were changed so that the Fairtrade premium can be used by communities to pay for hand sanitisers, Tippy Taps and training for essential workers to help them stay safe. Many are also supporting workers and their families who are unable to work.

Howard and Webster at an event organised by the Fairer World shop in York

In 2018 Howard and Webster – two rice farmers from the Kilombero rice project in Malawi – visited Yorkshire. Howard was recently in touch with JTS who have said this:

Sadly, Covid 19 has now arrived in the developing world to make life even tougher than it already is for our producers. Howard Msukwa, a producer of Kilombero rice in Malawi, advised us that at the weekend there were “25 active cases of Covid-19 and 3 deaths so far”. They are at the very beginning of this pandemic and so JTS have been asking all our vulnerable producer partners what support they need in the current crisis. 

KASFA rice farmers in Malawi and Eswatini Swazi Kitchen from The Kingdom of Eswatini, have told us that their main need at this time is for simple handwashing facilities and soap. Therefore we have set up a Total Giving page to raise funds to supply these basic necessities.  

Together, we can help the most vulnerable people fight this global pandemic. Let’s give them a chance.

The best thing we can do is to continue buying fair trade products. Some countries have total lockdown meaning that they are unable to export any goods at all. Most fair trade suppliers are supporting their workers with orders even though they are unable to receive the goods. Most non-supermarket shops are closed in the UK or have moved to offering limited “Click & Collect”, local delivery or selling online, so it might be a little bit harder to find your usual fair trade products, but please continue to support fair trade farmers, suppliers and retailers as much as you can.

You can check out our list of Yorkshire outlets selling fair trade here: Fair Trade Detectives.


Posted on May 5th, 2020 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News