The aroma of Fairtrade coffee looks set to linger long after Fair Trade Fortnight for the thousands of kiwis around the country who made the conscious choice to support coffee farmers in the developing world by taking part in New Zealand's Biggest Coffee Break.
More than 300 Oxfam Fairtrade coffee breaks were held in homes and workplaces from Gore to Kaitaia in the month of May, bringing to the attention of coffee lovers how one cup of Fairtrade coffee can help the producers work their way out of poverty.
Staff at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) who were treated last week to a Fairtrade coffee break said they will buy Fairtrade wherever possible from now on.
“It really helped bring home that what we do when we purchase items is affecting individuals andfamilies and that our choices really do have positive and negative ramifications,” said Leonie Duval from AUT’s School of Engineering Office.
“It was really heartening to know that communities are turning themselves around after receiving a fair and liveable wage for their products, to know that children are finally having access to education and knowing that their future will hold more possibilities because of it.”
Office Max, Tonkin & Taylor, Maunsell, Fortune Manning Law Partnership, NZ Steel, Vodafone and AUT are just some of the companies and institutions that are taking part in New Zealand's Biggest Coffee Break this month.
Millions of farmers in over 60 developing countries are dependent on the coffee, tea and cocoa industries, struggling to support their families. A growing number of farmers are working their way out of this struggle by selling to the Fairtrade market.
Fairtrade guarantees a better deal for farmers and producers in the developing world ensuring farmers are paid a fair and stable price for their coffee and investing money back into the community through health care and education projects as well as basic infrastructure. “It’s been fantastic to see the nationwide support that kiwis have shown for Fairtrade,” said Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director Barry Coates. “We need to continue to buy and demand more Fairtrade products and get the message out. We can become part of the solution to poverty.”
“By choosing Fairtrade, consumers really can help producers in developing countries work their way to a better life for their families.”
The Fortnight concludes with the World Fair Trade Day May 12 - an international celebration of fair trade in 70 countries with shops and networks hosting events including breakfasts, talks, concerts and fashion shows to promote fair trade.
A wide range of fair trade products are now available in New Zealand, from coffee and chocolate, to spices and sports balls. In the past three years, New Zealand’s growth in Fairtrade sales has rocketed, increasing by 2000 per cent.