By Sumayah Hussain
I met Jan Tucker of the Fairtrade shop Fair Do’s/ Siopa Teg at the International Development summit. It was the colorful display of Fairtrade goods that drew me to her stall. I’ve been buying Fair Trade for 10 years and I have a huge amount of respect for the core principles of Fairtrade. It is only correct in my opinion that the farmers and workers who are working so hard to produce the everyday things that we love are given a fair deal.
As part of writing this blog, I chose to visit the shop in Canton, Cardiff where Jan told me a little more about the shop, and Fair Trade. According to Jan, chocolate and pure natural soap are the best-selling items. There are shelves of delicious ethical treats to choose from!
For the last three years, Fair do’s have received a small grant from Hub Cymru Africa to support their work.
She also said: “Fairtrade is important, as it pays people a fair amount of money. It’s a way in which consumers in countries like Wales can make a small switch in their shopping habits to support some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
We then discussed the confusion that comes from having different Fairtrade marks, and the recent shift by Sainsbury’s from Fairtrade certified tea to their own in-house label: ‘fairly traded’. Jan is fearful that the changes from people like Sainsbury’s as well as issues such as Brexit means that the future for Fairtrade is not so straightforward. She is still optimistic, however. She talks of people genuinely trusting the Fairtrade Mark, and that is does ensure a fair deal for farmers and workers across the world.
Jan was kind enough to answer some of my further questions:
Why is Fairtrade important?
It is important because we pay the people the right amount. It is a way to support vulnerable people in poor areas in the world. It is understood by many people e.g. supermarkets as well as politicians.
With so many Fairtrade logos how do customers know the difference between each certification?
Fairtrade means that the item is independently verified. The World Trade Organization has long lengthy agreements which covers Fairtrade.
How does your shop affect the lives of people living in a under developed country?
There are 5 different areas which the shop is linked with. Products are currently imported directly from a shop in Egypt which is part of British Association for Fair Trade Shops.
How do you know the income from the product will go to the farmers and not a middle man?
People do genuinely trust the Fairtrade mark. For example, Palestinian oil producers meet annually during Fairtrade fortnight, so workers at the shop can also link up with them during this time.
Fairtrade is a part of Wales’s modern history of International Solidarity. In 2018, Wales celebrates its 10th anniversary as a Fairtrade Nation. A time where schools, governments, businesses, places of worships, universities and communities have supported farmers and workers across the world through Fairtrade.