Andrew Stephenson MP has taken part in a Fairtrade Break in Parliament to support farmers and workers from developing countries in celebration of Fairtrade Fortnight.
Last week the Pendle MP took part in the initiative, which is asking consumers to think about the farmers and workers in poor countries behind every day items.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) helped spread the campaign’s message of ‘Don’t Feed Exploitation’, highlighting the fact that smallholder farmers provide the majority of the UK’s tea and coffee, yet one in three people in Kenya’s coffee and tea-growing regions live in poverty.
Additionally, over two million children work in hazardous conditions in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, while the average Ivory Coast cocoa farmer lives on less than 40p a day.
Coffee farmer and one of the founders of the Fairtrade-certified co-operative Kaderes Peasants Development Plc (KPD), Leonard Kachebonaho, said: "Thank you all for supporting Fairtrade. Now we are in our 6th year since joining Fairtrade and we have been able to support fellow farmers with farming to improve the environment and focus on quality to make sure you are always getting the best from us.
"Through Fairtrade farmers have also been able to invest in social projects such as improving health facilities, water tanks and schools," he added. "A new local secondary school now has 187 girls attending out of 293 – so a lot of girls are getting a good education and that is thanks to you.”
Guest speakers also included International Development Minister Rory Stewart MP, a coffee farmer from Tanzania, campaigners from across the UK, and secondary school students from Cambridge, while a total of 45 MPs attended the event and met representatives from Fairtrade towns across all regions of the UK.
Adam Gardner, Fairtrade Foundation Campaign Manager, said: “We can’t achieve all that we do without the support of people up and down the country who choose Fairtrade when they shop and continue to campaign for the rights of farmers from developing countries.
"They won’t stand for exploitation, and we’re delighted that so many of them came along to this event to speak to MPs about the importance of ensuring farmers and workers continue to receive fair prices and decent conditions," he continued.