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Fair Play to Them All
Thursday 18th February, 2010

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight (begins Monday 22 February) and the town hall is celebrating the third year of the borough’s status as a fairtrade zone.

The two weeks' worth of awareness-raising is led by the national Fairtrade Foundation, alerting people at home of issues affecting farmers and workers in the developing world. This year, the theme is ‘The Big Swap’ and customers are being encouraged to buy fairtrade versions of their usual grocery purchases to support growers and communities in Asia, Africa and South America.

Cllr David Molyneux, the council’s champion for the environment, says: “There may be tough times at home, but even so we can do our bit to help people in the third world. Look for the Fairtrade logo on an increasing number of major brands and make a choice to support them.”

There are now some 40,000 different products on sale in the UK, licensed to carry the Fairtrade mark; these include some M&S clothing, Kitkats and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate.

The town hall bistro, where many items of Fairtrade produce are on sale, is hosting a quiz for visitors, both staff and public. It’s just for fun, but the questions help to spread information about the initiative and the situation for many of the world’s farmers.

Farmers and workers in developing countries struggle to provide for their families because of poor access to trade markets, and because of trade rules which often mean that the price they get for their crop is actually below the cost of producing it. They are also some of the people most affected by global challenges such as climate change.

The Fairtrade mark helps consumers to choose goods which help many third world farmers and workers. Fairtrade certification means that producers are guaranteed a stable, minimum price for their goods. They also receive an extra payment (a "premium") to invest in their community, for example to help provide a water supply, school or health clinic.

Previous years have seen visits to Wigan by farmers and food producers from Africa and South America.

If you'd like to know more about Fairtrade, visit the Fairtrade Foundation website at www.fairtrade.org.uk.

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