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T


hree Rivers District Council is a Fairtrade Council. It was awarded this Fairtrade status


because of the hard work of community organisations, faith groups, shops, businesses and schools throughout the district who have pledged to support Fairtrade. Three Rivers has gladly added its voice to demands for a trade system that regards people as the priority, not the maximising of profit whatever the cost and impact on the poorest producers. By the time you read this we will probably be


half way through Fairtrade Fortnight (February 28 to 13 March). I am sure many of you are aware of the trade issues related to food such as bananas, coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate etc, but do you know about cotton? A major new report from the Fairtrade


Foundation shows very clearly how the West African cotton industry is blocked by the barrier of cash subsidies handed out by the USA and the European Union to their farmers. Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation has said ‗This report


reveals one of the greatest trade injustices of our time. Ten million farmers are locked into poverty while trade distorting subsidies are paid out by the EU and USA. It is incredible that EU cotton subsidies are worth more per pound than the price cotton trades for on global markets. It is time to end the Great Cotton Stitch-up.‖ This subsidy system perpetuates the African


cotton growers‘ reliance on aid and restricts their ability to export their way out of poverty, get schooling for their children and health care for the family. This is why Fairtrade supporters are calling on the EU to include the elimination of cotton trade distorting subsidies in the new Common Agricultural Policy reform process, and putting pressure on the USA to do the same. What can we do ? ● Buy Fairtrade cotton and other items when you can ● Be aware of the issues, go to www.fairtrade.org.uk ● Be active and support campaigns to end these practices. ● Get a free local Fairtrade directory so you know what is available ● Contact the local Fairtrade Group- Jane Brading on 01923 492893 or email janebrading@hotmail.com


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