The ongoing work of the Fairtrade movement strives to see producers and communities across the world receive a fair price for their goods and fair wages for their work. This goes to the very heart of the co-operative movement, and indeed is right at the heart of the Co-operative Party here in Wales too.

This year, Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 highlights the growing challenges that climate change brings to farmers and workers in the communities with which Fairtrade works. The facts are stark. Farmers and workers in the global south, who have done the least to contribute to climate change, are facing the worst effects of climate change. This can affect crop production and income. But the support of Fairtrade can help them meet their everyday needs and the added challenges of climate change.

So, from 22nd February to 7th March in Fairtrade fortnight I would encourage everyone to take part in one of the many online events and highlighting the work done across the world to promote worker-run and owned Fairtrade production (the following link provides details: Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 | Fair Trade Wales | )

As a member of the Co-operative Party, Chair of the Senedd Co-operative Group of MSs, and a long-standing supporter of the Fairtrade movement, I wholeheartedly welcome the support of Wales and the Welsh Government for the Fairtrade Wales movement and especially for initiatives like Jenipher Sambazi’s in Uganda.

Jenipher Sambazi is a coffee farmer and Chair of MEACCE (Mount Elgon Agroforestry Community Co-operative Enterprise). I had the pleasure of meeting with her at the Senedd during one of her latest visits to Wales, when she gave an inspirational talk about the devastating impacts of climate change on the coffee trade and the work of the Mt Elgon Coffee Cooperative in Uganda.  I, along with many of my Senedd colleagues, were hugely impressed with the amazing work Jenipher and many others are doing. Jenipher is also leading one of the Fairtrade Fortnight online events being held.

Through the work Jenipher and others are doing, more than 3,000 Fairtrade farmers in rural Uganda are now supported by a Welsh Government-backed partnership to get them a fair price for their coffee – and help them combat climate change.

The Partnership is the result of nearly 10 years of work, which has seen Fairtrade and organic farmers in Mbale, Uganda, join with Welsh organisations to look at farming, climate change and sustainable trade. It is also supported to buy coffee from producers in Uganda, allowing it to be bought and enjoyed here in Ogmore and across Wales.

In this Fairtrade Fortnight 2021, Co-operative MSs have highlighted the work of the Fairtrade Movement in the Senedd, and Welsh Government ministers have reiterated their ongoing support. We have a great opportunity here to highlight our nationwide passion and commitment to helping people living across the world, and showing that we are at our best when we work together globally for economic, social and environmental justice.

I’m also delighted to see the Co-op continuing their long-standing support for Fairtrade branded goods and other local stores in my own constituency in Ogmore and right across Wales too. The power of each of us as ethical consumers should never be underestimated, along with the power of ethical retailers!

Wales has a proud tradition of championing and partnering with the Fairtrade movement, which strives to give a greater voice and economic justice to farmers and communities across the world. It is more important now than ever, in the added challenge of the global pandemic as well as the continued challenge of climate change, that we reassert our support for the Fairtrade movement.