Junior Minister, Gerry Kelly, clebrates fairtrade fortnight
JUNIOR MINISTER KELLY CELEBRATES FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT
Junior Minister Gerry Kelly raised a celebratory cuppa as he poured praise on the Fairtrade Award winners announced during a special reception in Stormont today.
The event was one of several being hosted across the city during Fairtrade Fortnight which runs until 9 March, to promote Fairtrade and maintain Belfast's accreditation as a Fairtrade City.
The Minister said: "In organising and promoting Fairtrade Fortnight 2009, you are setting an example to others and offering insight and education in equal measure.
"Clearly, there are inextricable links between Fairtrade and inter-culturalism and citizenship. These links resonate with the high-level ambitions of our Programme for Government, in which we seek to grow a dynamic and innovative economy, which in turn, helps create a fair and prosperous society, built upon the principles of equality and sustainability.
"Fairtrade, from producers to policy-makers; from growers to government, is a positive agent for change, and is a collective responsibility.
"It is fitting that today's event is being hosted in Parliament Buildings as only Fairtrade tea and coffee are served here to the MLAs, Ministers and staff. That amounts to some 45,000 cups of tea and coffee each year so we too are taking a leaf out of your book to contribute, even in a small way, to help benefit developing countries."
Fairtrade is a mechanism that guarantees a minimum price, to small farmers and cooperatives in the developing world.
The awards are issued in recognition of the work of local shops, restaurants and cafes which actively promote and sell Fairtrade products.
The Junior Minister was joined at the event with Costa Rican Wilbert Valverde, a member of the Fairtrade team at COOPEAGRI, a coffee and sugar cooperative, who spoke about his experiences as a registered producer.