On October 6 last Laura Heneghan of the Castlebar Fairtrade group and Roisín Ní Moráin of the Wesport Fairtrade group attended a Fairtrade Towns/Cities workshop in Dublin.
The workshop was hosted by the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Michael Kitt with
special guest speakers Sergio Allard, Director of Los Robles Fairtrade Wine from Curico in Chile and Luuk Zonneveld, CEO of FLO, the International Fairtrade Labelling Organization.
The Minister spoke of his great belief in Fairtrade and that wherever possible Fairtrade products, including Fairtrade wine, are used within the government.
Irish aid is now one of the biggest contributors to Fairtrade Initiatives in Central and South America and the people of Ireland are also displaying their support in Fairtrade by purchasing Fairtrade products. Fairtrade sales in Ireland increased by 77% from 2005 to 2006.
The Fairtrade market in Ireland is now worth over €11.6million yearly and supermarkets are continuously changing to meet these needs. Marks & Spencers sell only Fairtrade tea and coffee, Superquinn sell only Fairtrade bananas, Tesco has up to 70 Fairtrade products available, Robt. Roberts are changing all their tea and coffee to Fairtrade, Lidl have their own Fairtrade brand and the list goes on.
Sergio Allard, Director of Los Robles Fairtrade Wine spoke of the benefits Fairtrade had on his community and on his business. Sales have doubled since Los Robles achieved Fairtrade status, which, more importantly, has improved the quality of life for all the people of Curico, not just the employees.
Los Robles have set up a bus service for all the local children to attend school. Before this the children often were not picked up by the public bus service because their bus fare was not as high as an adult fare and the bus service didn’t see the value in coming to the area frequently.
Scholarships are been offered to children who can’t afford further education. Many of these children graduated and returned to Curico and provide healthcare and other facilities that would not have been possible without the premium that Fairtrade guarantees.
Poverty in Chile has reduced from 39% to 13% in the last 10 years and with the help of Fairtrade Sergio hopes the poverty percentage can be reduced even further.
Fairtrade wines can be bought in a number of outlets in Castlebar and Westport including Dunnes Stores in Castlebar and Westport, Super Valu in Castlebar and Westport, John Hanley’s on Station Road in Castlebar and Jim McLoughlin’s on Bridge Street in Westport.
There are hundreds of Fairtrade products now available in Ireland from honey and rice to footballs and cotton clothes and towels. It is a great achievement for Castlebar and Westport to be two of the 25 Fairtrade Irish towns. Many more towns are now working to achieve Fairtrade status and with the increased awareness and increased demand for Fairtrade products we are guaranteeing a fair deal for more third world producers.
Castlebar and Westport will be renewing their Fairtrade status this December and would like to thank everyone for their help so far but also encourage more people to get involved.
Buy Fairtrade products, ask your local shopkeeper to stock more Fairtrade products, make your organization a Fairtrade orgnisation, serve Fairtrade Tea and coffee, organize information nights, join your local Fairtrade group. The possibilities are endless and so simple.
Next time you eat a banana, drink tea, eat rice, ask yourself where did it come from? By choosing Fairtrade you are not only helping Third World producers but you are also helping yourself as less fertilizers and sprays are used on Fairtrade products, making it safer for you, your family and the producers family.
For information on Castlebar and Wesports Fairtrade groups contact
, email@example.com or 087 9745984
For more information on Fairtrade and for a list of Fairtrade retail and catering outlets in Castlebar and Westport see