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Dear Supporters and friends,

Scotland has achieved Fair Trade Nation status. Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Relations and International Development, announced the news this morning.

The success of Fair Trade across Scotland is largely thanks to the personal commitment of people like you who have worked tirelessly towards ensuring that farmers and producers in developing countries received a fair deal for their exports to countries such as ours.  This has ensured that working conditions are safe and has greatly empowered them to have more control over their livelihoods and the development of their communities.  Achieving Fair Trade Nation status for Scotland is another milestone in this decades-long process, one in which you have played an essential role.

Scotland is only the second nation after Wales to achieve Fair Trade Nation status.  While we have much to celebrate today, work must continue to keep the positive momentum to further embed Fair Trade values across all sectors of society.  So your work and ours will continue in the years ahead to improve on the success we have achieved thus far.

The Forum and Scotland shares this achievement and commitment with our producer partners in the developing world.  Fair Trade has made a positive impact on their lives and communities.  Fair Trade premiums paid to producers have enabled them to enjoy higher and more stable incomes especially when global prices were low.

Their control over the supply chain has also meant that they are able to plan and implement development projects for their communities.  For example, this has helped producers, such as rice farmers in Malawi to pay for housing, clothing, farming necessities, transport and education for their children.  To send one child to secondary school for a year in Malawi, a farmer needs to sell enough to make 90kgs milled rice.  With the help of Just Trading Scotland, a small Fair Trade Business based in Paisley, approximately 100 tonnes of Kilombero rice from Malawi have been sold since 2008, enabling at least 260 children to attend secondary school.  

Henry Kalomba, who is visiting Scotland for Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 as a guest of the Forum, is the General Manager of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi. He said, ‘By promoting awareness about Fair Trade, what we really are doing is bringing awareness to the consumers in Scotland that by buying Fair Trade commodities, particularly produced in the developing world, then they are assisting the smallholder producers to improve their lives and work their way out of poverty.’

Justine Watalunga is a Ugandan coffee producer, also touring Scotland during Fairtrade Fortnight this year with the Fairtrade Foundation.  She is one of the producers of the Mount Elgon Gumutindo Ground Coffee for Edinburgh-based Equal Exchange, which is part of the company’s ‘Coffee Grown by Women’ range.  This coffee is grown by women farmers in Peru, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sumatra and India, paying them additional premiums over and above the Fairtrade premium in order to grow their businesses and support their families.The addition of the Fairtrade Premium for coffee farmers has made a huge impact. Justine said, ‘The Fairtrade Premium is like a miracle to us, it comes directly into our hands. It is an acknowledgement of our work, of what we are capable of and who we are.’

The positive impact that Fair Trade has had on our partners in developing countries, is the reason why our work exists and makes it worthwhile. Whether you are a stalwart campaigner or a Fairtrade consumer, you have all contributed to the success we celebrate today and we look forward to the day when Fair Trade is the norm. 

Please put 7 September in your diaries for our national celebration event which will take place in Perth. Thank you for all your work and we look forward to further collaboration on Fair Trade issues in the days and years to come. 
 
Have a great Fairtrade Fortnight.
 
Kind regards,
 
Martin Rhodes
Director
 
PS Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs and International Development, will be speaking on Fair Trade Nation status at our event in the Lighthouse, Mitchell Lane, Glasgow at 6pm this evening along with Justine Watalunga. If you haven’t already registered and you would like to be there, please contact us at registration@sftf.org.uk
 
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