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Nicaragua farm worker to talk Fairtrade with local school children

08 March 2017

Local primary and secondary school children will hear the inspiring story of a farm worker from a Fairtrade cooperative in Nicaragua this Friday March 10th as part of a special event at the Eden Place Arts Centre in Pilot’s Row to mark Fairtrade Fortnight.

Haris Ulises Lopez Picado is employed at a Fairtrade certified coffee and chocolate producing operation in his native country where workers are paid a fair wage and have the option of taking special courses to enhance their CV.

The Fairtrade initiative aims to combat the exploitation of developing world farmers and workers by setting guaranteed minimum pricing for goods and encouraging fair conditions and treatment of employees.

Primary school children at the event will attend a Fairtrade arts workshop while staff from Tescos will also be in attendance to explain the journey of food from third world countries to our dinner tables in the ‘Farm to Fork Trail’. 

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, who will be represented by Deputy Mayor Jim McKeever at the event said it was a useful opportunity to educate young people about Fairtrade principles at an early age.

“I am extremely proud of Council’s endorsement of the Fairtrade values and this event is a great way for young people to learn about them in a fun environment,” said Alderman McClintock.

“The story Haris will tell is a great example of how Fairtrade has helped workers on the ground to realise their potential and I’m sure the students in attendance will find it inspirational.

“I would encourage the public to make a particular effort to purchase products that are Fairtrade certified to help end the exploitation of farmers and workers throughout the world.”   

Haris Ulises Lopez Picado worked for several years on his parent’s coffee farm that was part of a coffee cooperative project called Soppexcca.

They gave him a scholarship to study at university and he also took part in a pilot rural development project, financed by Soppexcca and the Nicaraguan government, to take courses in natural resource management, coffee cultivation and sustainable agriculture.
For the last four years, he has been employed at the cooperative’s new chocolate factory which produces various products for export to the US and Germany and is in the process of becoming Fairtrade certified.

He credits Fairtrade with numerous benefits to him, his family and the community.

“Thanks to Fairtrade, Soppexcca can pay higher prices for the coffee and offer special programmes for young people, training them in the cultivation of coffee,” he said.

"The cooperative has set up various social projects, including the construction of a school and roads.

“They have also improved the road from the town to the village and support the community when landslides occur as well as various environmental activities.”

Friday will also see the launch at the Eden Place Arts Centre between 12.30pm and 1.30pm of a Fairtrade Coffee Photographic Exhibition by Sean Hawkey. 

It will be officially launched by Director of Fairtrade Ireland Peter Gaynor and the public are welcome to attend the exhibition which will be on display until March 20th, viewing times are Monday from 10am to 3.30pm and 10am to 6pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The legacy Derry City Council was awarded Fair Trade status in March 2014 and, in 2015, elected representatives passed a resolution to demonstrate Council’s support for a campaign to achieve Fairtrade status for the entire Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

Council are part of a Fairtrade Steering Group that promotes Fairtrade and endeavours to achieve the status for the whole council area.

Further information on Fairtrade Fortnight is available online at www.fairtrade.ie  and www.fairtrade.org.uk e mail [email protected] or contacting Heather Hamilton at Derry City and Strabane District Council on 028 71 253253.