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Bowman satisfied with Fairtrade Fortnight promotional tour of the UK

Bowman satisfied with Fairtrade Fortnight  promotional tour of the UK

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Veteran Fairtrade farmer Anton “Tookie” Bowman has expressed satisfaction with a recent two-week promotional tour of the United Kingdom as part of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations.{{more}}

Each year, the Fairtrade Foundation of the UK organizes a series of activities designed to promote Fairtrade sales, as well as to celebrate the success of the movement, Britain’s biggest certification initiative. Farmers from WINFA, the certified body in the Windward Islands, have been invited over the past decade, and this year, Bowman and a St. Lucian counterpart, Moses Renee, were the two WINFA producers touring towns, schools, churches and communities all over Britain.

“Tookie” Bowman is one of the local pioneers of the Fairtrade movement. No stranger to such tours himself, Bowman was part of the first-ever WINFA mission to the UK and Europe way back in 1992, and is one of the leading banana farmers in the islands.

His recent tour was a most gruelling one, with 24 appointments in some of the over 500 schools and an equal number of towns, not to mention churches and rural communities. He was hosted by several mayors and had the privilege of presenting the official certification of being a Fairtrade city to the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Elise Benjamin. He also visited the WINFRESH plant at Stansted, where he held discussions with WINFRESH CEO Bernard Cornibert.

Reflecting on his visit, “Tookie” said he was struck by the warm hospitality of the Fairtrade Foundation and the volunteers and campaigners who hosted him. Support for Fairtrade products in Britain continues to grow, reaching total sales of more than EC$5 billion in 2011, 12% more than in 2010.

Bowman stated that he was very impressed by the interest shown by children in the schools which he visited. He said requests were made for a ‘twinning’ of fairtrade towns in Britain with banana-producing communities and that he hopes to get a school in the Evesham area ‘twinned’ with one in the shire of Buckingham. The role of fairtrade in uniting people of all creeds and races also made a lasting impact on the veteran farmer.

Bowman has expressed his gratitude for the opportunity afforded him by WINFA and the Fairtrade Foundation to showcase the work of the banana farmers of the islands and his SVG Fairtrade Organisation.

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