Burnham-On-Sea’s MP Tessa Munt has this week joined Fairtrade Ambassador and five-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave at the launch of a new fair trade campaign.
The launch comes at the start of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight, highlighting the Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘Great Cotton Stitch-Up’ campaign to end unfair European cotton subsidies.
West African cotton producers are some of the poorest farmers in the world and yet last year they had to compete with EU farmers who received over £600m in subsidies.
Tessa said: “It is utterly scandalous that West African farmers, earning less than $1 a day, cannot use their farming skills to trade their way out of poverty. From the number of Fairtrade goods in our local shops, I know trade justice is something local people really care about. I am pleased to be backing Fairtrade this Fortnight and the bid to break the bunting record.”
“Behind this campaign is a serious message to end unfair European cotton subsidies and to make trade fair. That’s why I am supporting this bid, so we can help some of the poorest cotton farmers in the world make a fair wage from their work.”
A record attempt is also being held during this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight to create the world’s longest bunting. The target to beat is 2,986 metres. Fairtrade campaigners and supporters around the country are aiming to reach at least 4,350 metres – over two and a half miles – and the final bunting will be displayed on World Fairtrade Day 14th May.
Sir Steve Redgrave added: “I am delighted that Tessa is backing Fairtrade’s campaign. I have visited West African cotton farmers in Mali and seen how hard it is make a living from cotton. Farmers there are not asking for a handout, just a level playing field so they can support their families and improve their communities through hard work. Working together, we can end these subsidies and make the African cotton farmers’ lives a little bit easier.”
Pictured are Sir Steve Redgrave and Tessa signing the bunting which will become part of the world record attempt