Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy World Fair Trade Day!! Celebrate Good Times Bol-ga!

On Friday, the ICS TradeAIDers were out and about in Bolga handing out leaflets and talking to people involved with Fair Trade. Of course, as Bolga is a Fair Trade Town, this means talking to everyone!

Ok, so that’s a tad dramatic, but we have at least reached out to the craftspeople that are the bedrock of Bolga’s Fair Trade Status and also to many local people too.
Why would we spend a whole morning doing this?

*****Because Saturday 9th May is WORLD FIAR TRADE DAY!!! And we want to make sure that everyone knows!*****

It is going to be an exciting few weeks for TradeAID, with many reasons to celebrate.
1)      It’s World Fair Trade Day!
2)      There is a new craft centre opening in Bolgatanga
3)      Bolgatanga has been officially credited with the status of Fair Trade Town

I’m sure that most of the people reading this have heard of Fair Trade before, seen the logo on consumer goods and eaten Fair Trade food products. In the UK, it is now difficult to find a shop that doesn't sell at least one brand of Fair Trade chocolate and coffee.

Though often our relationship with Fair Trade ends here, at the supermarket shelf. It is rare that we consider the ethics of other products that we buy. We that the people growing the food we eat should have ample money to buy the food that they too need and most us also understand he historically embedded exploitative means with which the Western world procure their own food. Farming is sometimes one of the few choices or work people have to earn money. However, what happens when this sector is not profitable?

Bolgatanga is in Ghana’s Upper Eastern Region. This is a hot and dry area of the country that only has two rainy seasons a year. The rains are coming later and later and when they do come it can be as little as once or twice a week. We are currently in the “rainy season” yet in the entire 5 weeks I have been here we have not experienced a single drop of rain. Clearly, conditions here are not conducive to farming. Therefore people must rely for the most part on truck-loads of food that comes up from the mid and southern regions. But to do this, they must be able to afford the food that the must buy. Therefore, in Bolga there are many traders and the craft industry is strong. TradeAID aims to ensure that craftspeople in Ghana receive a fair price for their work and thus benefit from Fair Trade in the way that cocoa and coffee farmers can.

Fair Trade is a movement that has been in existence since 1994, starting in Europe and spreading throughout the world, it is now an internationally recognised certification and has built on its success by employing the idea of Fair Trade Towns. As aforementioned, Bolgatanga is a Fair Trade Town and is proud be only the second town in Africa to achieve this status.

On the 30th of May we will be holding a big event to celebrate all the positive things that are happening regarding Fair Trade in Bolgatanga. TradeAID has been working hard to promote Fair Trade in Bolgatanga; it is easy to think that Fair Trade is a type of charity that give Westerners with a conscience a sense of “doing good”. This is wrong. For Fair Trade to be successful local producers must have local markets to sell their goods. Though Trade AID sells Bolga Baskets on Etsy, this represents only a minority of sales. The community understand the mutual benefits of buying Fair Trade in their own town and this is exemplified by the Craft Village where you can buy a myriad of Fair Trade goods from leather bags to Bolga Baskets, from jewelry to ornaments.

Bolgatanga is hub of creativity, fairness and trade. All attributes that I’m sure you will agree deserve celebrating!!! You may be reading this from a different country but why not join us in our celebration by holding your own Fair Trade Celebration event where you are? Or even consider buying Fair Trade?

You can follow us on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/pages/TradeAID-Integrated/221046821242922 , we would love to see photos of your own Fair Trade related stories, events or purchases : )

If you want to see more of the Fair Trade products produced in Bolga, check out Bolga Baskets on Etsyhttps://www.etsy.com/market/bolgatanga?ref=l2

By Harriet Fielding

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