World Fair Trade Day – 14 May

See also report on Melbourne Indymedia.

Yesterday was World Fair Trade Day, marked in Melbourne by a ‘Carnival’ in the City Square, with stalls and events arranged by Monash Student Association, Oxfam, Fairwear, Grasslands, Jasper Coffee and others:

Fairtrade campaigners handing leaflets to passersby

“Liberate your Latté!” This was the slogan on the t-shirts worn by members of ‘Hooked’, the official student movement of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ), promoting Fairtrade coffee yesterday in the old City Square. For those who don’t know, Fairtrade is “an independently audited certification and labelling system for products which ensures that the farmers and workers producing the product are paid a fair return for their work.” The situation with tea and coffee has been fairly widely publicised for some time, but a Fairtrade fact sheet on the chocolate trade asked “Where does you chocolate come from?” before spelling out some of the shameful aspects of the trade:

The average annual cocoa revenues in West Africa(which produces 67% of the world’s cocoa) amount to only $30-108 per household.
Most of the cocoa processing chocolate production doesn’t happen in the countries where cocoa is grown. This mens that thye only get about 1c for each chocolate bar sold.
Such poverty leads to large scale human rights abuses in the cocoa industry.
A UNICEF study reports that 200,000 children are trafficked yearly in West and Central Africa to work. […]
60% of the children working on cocoa farms in the Cote d’Ivoire have never attended school.

To the question “What can I do?”, Fairtrade replies:

Help create demand – “in 2000, Fair Trade cooperatives produced 89 million pounds of cocoa, but sold only 3 million pounds at FairTrade prices”
Buy Fairtrade – “There are two Fairtrade Labelled Chocolate and cocoa varieties offered in Australia – Cocolo and Green & Black.
Tell your friends!

Links –
http://www.maketradefair.com (this link may be inactive)
http://www.fta.org.au
http://www.oxfam.org.au
http://www.ilo.org
http://www.globalexchange.org

The festival was scheduled to run from 10am to 4 pm. I was there around 12 and wasn’t able to stay very long, so I hope the numbers grew later, if only for the sake of those who had obviously put a tremendous effort into it …

Campaigner 'chained' to huge cocoa bean

Chained to cocoa – “At least 12,000 children working on cocoa plantations [on the Ivory Coast] have come to their present situation through child trafficking…”

Fairwear stall

“Fashion stinks when it’s made in sweatshops”. The Fairwear campaign website is at http://www.fairwear.org.au.

Another alternative to the big-name sweatshop brands:

'No Sweat' stall

As well as the coffee stalls there was organic produce on offer from the marvellous people at Grasslands:
Grasslands food stall

And there was music and dancing – though at this time there weren’t very many dancers (the band was Symbiosis):

Two dancers in front of band stage

Rod Quantock was MC

Rod Quantock – “I want to thank you all for coming. It’s not often I get the chance to address a rally of 25,000 people. Hands up those who are listening – one, two … ten, eleven.”

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