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Fairtrade taste for Ministers

Ahead of Fairtrade fortnight Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and Minister Alan Duncan sampled some of the UK's finest Fairtrade teas and coffees.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and Minister Alan Duncan sampled some of the UK’s finest Fairtrade teas and coffees today, as they saw firsthand the work of Britain’s leading ethical traders.

The ministers met with some of the UK’s pioneering ethical trading companies in two separate regional visits, ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight later this month.

Mr Mitchell visited Wolverhampton to taste fair trade coffee from the city’s new company, Revolver World, while Mr Duncan headed to Harrogate meet the family business of tea sellers, Taylors.

In Wolverhampton, Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

“Trade drives growth which in turn creates jobs and wealth in communities. Through trade we can help people to pull themselves out of poverty. Ensuring farmers and other producers get a fair price for their produce and effort is central to this.

“Revolver has proved this can be both good for British business and can transform the lives of the poorest. Making a small change to your weekly shop, like buying Revolver’s superb Fairtrade coffee can make a real difference to those who farm these everyday essentials.”

Revolver’s Fairtrade coffee is produced by the Gumutindo co-operative in Uganda and the Kagera Coffee Union in Tanzania, and is sold in the UK through Co-Op stores. Work is also progressing to organise 11,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya into co-operatives and help them to work towards Fairtrade certification.

Speaking in Harrogate, Development Minister Alan Duncan said:

“Taylors superb teas and coffees are an excellent example of a successful fair and ethical business.

“Buying fair and ethically traded products will secure a fairer deal for poor farmers, helping them to pull themselves out of poverty while supporting local British businesses like Taylors.”

Taylors has been buying tea from Rwanda for over 35 years. The British Government’s Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund has helped Taylors to develop strong, direct links with Rwandan producers, guaranteeing some of the poorest farmers in the developing world a fair price for their produce.

The visits come ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight, which highlights that fairly traded goods can guarantee farmers and producers in the poorest countries receive a fair price for their produce and boosting their families’ income.

The British Government supports the Fairtrade Foundation to help bring similar promising products to British customers.

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation said:

“By supporting businesses who work in a fair and ethical way with small-holder producers in developing countries, the government is helping farmers to earn a sustainable living. It’s great to see Andrew Mitchell encouraging businesses to behave responsibly by creating stronger links with those farmers and workers on whom they depend.

“Fairtrade is a living example of responsible capitalism - both enabling businesses here to take a step towards tackling poverty, and a means for smallholders in developing countries to build their own businesses.”

Read the full press release - Wolverhampton

Read the full press release - Harrogate

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Published 17 February 2012