Fairtrade, climate change, and empowering women

Last summer, Fatima Ismael, general manager of the Union of Cooperatives SOPPEXCCA visited England and Wales. Fatima spoke at meetings in London and Sheffield; visited Fairtrade activists, a school, a Fairtrade shop, the Welsh cooperative centre in Cardiff and met funders and coffee buyers in London. Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (NSC), Wales NSC and Bristol Link with Nicaragua have had a relationship with SOPPEXCCA going back to 2002. During her presentation at the NSC AGM, Fatima said: “We have to continue on this path, with fair trade activists and fair trade farmers working hand in hand. Many thanks for all your work over so many years for Nicaragua. Co-operatives of small-scale farmers exist today thanks to the solidarity you have shown us and to Fairtrade.”

The highlight of Fatima’s stay was her visit to Bristol as a guest of Bristol Link with Nicaragua (BLINC) and Bristol Fairtrade Network (BFTN). Fatima was a keynote speaker at the Global Fairtrade Cities conference, where the 240 delegates from 20 countries gave her a standing ovation. Fittingly, as Bristol is European Green Capital 2015, Fatima highlighted the dramatic effects of climate change on SOPPEXCCA co-operatives, drastically reducing coffee growing at lower levels due to the increase in temperature. She highlighted the importance of investing the Fairtrade premium in fighting soil erosion caused by torrential rainfall, rather than spending it on education and clinics. It was also an opportunity for Fatima to learn about the experiences of UK farmers. She was particularly shocked to hear about the high suicide rate amongst UK dairy farmers, and compared it to a similar problem in Nicaragua with small-scale producers.

Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign magazine – Nicaragua Now. Permission given to reproduce.

David Wiggs

Author: David Wiggs

I am the webmaster for Purley United Reformed Church and have been involved with the church since my late teens. I work in Croydon and live in Caterham.

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