COMBER, Northern Ireland — Carr Primary School students learned about Caribbean Fairtrade bananas through a presentation and interactive discussion by guest speaker Dr. Christopher Stange from the Consulate of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Comber.
Carr Primary is a rural school with a strong farming background and thus the natural link to St. Vincent agriculture and Fairtrade banana production.
The presentation detailed the steps of Fairtrade banana production in St. Vincent from the field to the supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland.
This focused on the dramatic differences between Fairtrade and conventional production.
Fairtrade guarantees no child labour or exploitation. It employs weed control and blue bag management, instead of using traditional methods of harmful and toxic chemicals that have serious health considerations. Further, and the rights of the most disadvantaged farmers in the developing world are protected.
Fairtrade is about providing a guaranteed minimum set price for sustainable production, respecting the environment, alleviating poverty, and that developing countries have an opportunity to trade.
It is not a subsidy or charity but is unique in that for every unit sold, money is allocated into a social premium fund that is managed by the farmers and invested directly back into their own community.
The students have been studying Fairtrade as part of the curriculum with the goal of working towards Fairtrade school accreditation.