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Newry, Mourne and Down Fairtrade Steering Group recently renewed its Fairtrade District status for another two years with both the UK Fairtrade Foundation and Fairtrade Ireland.

The Fairtrade status includes Newry City and the main towns of Ballynahinch, Downpatrick, Newcastle, Saintfield and Warrenpoint.

A member of the Organic Jasmine Rice Producer Group (OJRPG), Thailand.
A member of the Organic Jasmine Rice Producer Group (OJRPG), Thailand.

The remarkable expansion of Fairtrade from a tiny niche market to more than 6,000 Fairtrade products has pioneered and transformed ethical consumerism. Fairtrade celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year and is recognised as an ethical label trusted by consumers, with a support base of government, businesses, cities, towns, schools, universities, colleges and places of worship.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in various export challenges and reduced levels of Fairtrade production for developing world farmers due to restrictions in transport, measures required to combat the disease, and being on the front-line of climate change and job losses. 

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight takes place from 22 February to 7 March 2021. There are online virtual events taking place for schools, colleges and businesses as well as lots of useful information on Fairtrade and how to get involved at www.fairtrade.org.uk

Co-Chairpersons of the Newry, Mourne and Down Fairtrade Steering Group, Councillor Willie Clarke and Councillor Pete Byrne, issued a joint statement in support of Fairtrade “We are encouraging the public to purchase Fairtrade certified products from your local stores and supermarkets, and encourage your family, friends and colleagues to do the same. If your favourite store or supermarket is not selling Fairtrade products, ask the store manager or owner to include Fairtrade. 

“For the most marginalised developing world producers that grow the tropical items we all consume daily but cannot be grown locally it is important for us all to play our part. Every banana, every coffee bean or chocolate bar purchased with the Fairtrade certification mark guarantees these farmers receive a fair price, alleviating poverty and exploitation, and assisting them to work towards a sustainable future.” 

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