Sales of Fairtrade products up 18% in Ireland
Sales of Fairtrade products have increased by 18% in Ireland, despite the recession, according to Dunstan Burke, financial controller of Fairtrade Ireland who spoke recently at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT).
Mr Burke added that Irish consumers continue to support Fairtrade despite the economic downturn experienced since 2008. Ethically produced and sourced goods of a consistent quality, as diverse as cotton, coffee, fruit, nuts, pulses and handcrafts, are very much in demand, he said.
The Fairtrade concept evolved from the fact that producers of primary products in developing countries were not receiving an economically viable price for their produce. Fairtrade certification ensures that producers and cooperatives across the developing world get prices that will ensure feasibility, in addition to a social premium that is used to fund health, education and community development projects.
Burke was accompanied by Alex Flores, manager of ACOPETA, cashew nut producers cooperative, located in southern El Salvador. Senor Flores detailed the huge difference that a Fairtrade base price and social premium has made to the community of fifty-five members. Children who previously worked on the cashew plantations can now attend school regularly thanks to the regular income provided to families through Fairtrade Certification.
Each year, as part of Fairtrade fortnight, Fairtrade Ireland sponsor two representatives from beneficiary communities to share their experiences throughout Ireland in educational institutions and other spaces.
AIT (Athlone Institute of Technology) has been involved in the Fairtrade movement since 2005. As part of the Fairtrade towns initiative in 2005, it was nominated as the flagship organisation in Athlone to promote the Fairtrade ideal. In 2009 the institute worked closely with the Dioceses of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise recognised as Ireland’s first Fairtrade dioceses.