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Queen’s University Belfast hosts WINFA head

Queen’s University Belfast hosts WINFA head

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Coinciding with the start of Fairtrade Fortnight (February 26 – March 11), Renwick Rose, Co-ordinator of the Windward Islands National Farming Association (WINFA), spoke to students at Queen’s University Belfast. Representing the national farming organisations of the Caribbean countries – St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Grenada and Dominica; he explained his advocacy work for the Windwards banana growers.

WINFA now celebrating its 25th anniversary, was created to amalgamate the individual farming organisations and provide better access for farmers to export markets. WINFA has been exporting Fair Trade bananas since 2000.{{more}}

Fairtrade’s involvement in the Windward Islands is positively welcomed by Rose who says, “I think Fairtrade has saved the industry in the Windward Islands. I am under no illusion that had it not been for Fairtrade we would have gone out of bananas.”

“It is the confidence it can instil in farmers that all is not lost, that in fact the long years of us trying to break into the Fairtrade market is really paying off and the consumers in Ireland and Britain are supporting them. I think that is going to have a very positive effect in terms of the farmers and they’ll pay attention to increased production.”

Dr. Christopher Stange of Fairtrade Belfast who attended the event added: “It was excellent to have such a great turnout and the students were delighted to hear firsthand the difficulties being faced by farmers in the Windward Isles. Awareness is the key to change and an opportunity like today where you can bring the grower in direct contact with the consumer is how we create a better system of trade and social justice for small producers.”

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