World Vision NZ Calls on New Zealanders to Support Fair Trade

World Vision New Zealand is calling on New Zealanders to buy fair trade products as it lends its support to Fair Trade Fortnight, an initiative of the Fair Trade Association for Australia and New Zealand.

World Vision has officially become a fair trade workplace to coincide with Fair Trade Fortnight between 28 April and 13 May, which is supported by a number of organisations including World Vision.

The agency has also launched its 'Are you bean fair?' campaign, calling people to use Fairtrade products, particularly coffee.

"Fair trade is about ensuring farmers in poor countries are paid a fair price for their
product, whether it be coffee, cocoa, sugar or any other commodity," says World Vision New Zealand CEO Lisa Cescon.

"The long-term goals of fair trade are community development and sustainability; these are principles we wholeheartedly advocate for."

Fairtrade product sales in New Zealand skyrocketed from $200,000 in 2004 to $4m in 2006, reports the Fair Trade Association.

"New Zealanders increasingly want to do the right thing by supporting the growers of products we consume. It's important that we act on the opportunity to do that, as part of our responsibility to help alleviate poverty where we can," says Miss Cescon.

World Vision is currently working with thousands of coffee farmers through co-operatives in Ethiopia. Fair trade for them means a fair price in the international market and locally.

"Local private business people used to embezzle us, setting the price for our coffee the way they wanted it to be. Whatever price they gave us, we took it, because we did not have any alternative," says Ato Shiferaw Gobena, a member of the fair trade Hama coffee farmers co-operative in Kochore, Ethiopia.

"But now the price has risen [from US$.02] to US$0.35]. It is because the co-operative could create a competitive business atmosphere that we could get a fair price even locally," he adds.

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