Mangos and olives on the menu for Fairtrade Devon

Devon County Council is helping to host a range of activities and events between February 23 and March 8 to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight

Devon County Council is helping to host a range of activities and events between February 23 and March 8 to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight A dried mango producer, Ahmed Sourabie, from West Africa and a Palestinian olive farmer, Riziq Abu Nasser will be visiting Devon to talk about how receiving a fair price for their produce has helped their communities.TV journalist George Alagiah will be meeting the guests for a business breakfast and promoting a banana-eating world record attempt at schools around the county on Friday 6th March.The Fairtrade Fortnight is a national campaign to raise awareness of how trade affects people's lives in the developing world.This year is particularly special to Devon and the Council, having gained Fairtrade status last October. Arsene Sourabie works for a co-operative in Burkina Faso, West Africa producing dried mango, which is then sold under the Fairtrade labelling system, guaranteeing that outlets which sell fair-trade products in rich countries pay a fair price for the goods. Burkina Faso has one of the lowest average incomes in the world, with the average person earning just over �600 a year, butFairtrade offers people the chance to trade their way out of poverty. Riziq Abu Nasser is an olive farmer from the West Bank, where manypeople live on less than a pound a day - below the United Nationspoverty line. However, the Palestinian climate produces some of theworld's finest olive oil. Riziq is part of a co-operative which recently started selling his oil through Zaytoun, the first Fairtrade-registered olive oil wholesaler importing to the UK.Sue Errington, Steering Group Co-ordinator, said: "Fairtrade in Devon is going from strength to strength! We have an excellent programme of speaker meetings and events for Fairtrade Fortnight this year. Watch out for the best dressed bananas, which will then be eaten by their creators, as part of the World Record attempt on eating bananas! Crealy Great Adventure Park is making the change to Fairtrade teas, coffees and chocolate. Ilfracombe is launching its bid to become a Fairtrade Town. Libraries plan to 'go bananas'. We will be tasting Palestinian Fairtrade almonds and dates as well as olive oil. And French-speakers will enjoy hearing West African French from Arsene. We hope everyone will join in the fortnight. And if your town or village is not yet 'Fairtrade', please think about what you can do to help achieve this."Devon County Councillor Chris Bray, who sits on the Steering Group, said "We are delighted to have two Fairtrade producers coming to Devon to spread the message about how important it is to farmers in their countries that we in the developed world buy, as much as possible, fairly traded goods. Last year was a great one for Fairtrade in Devon, with an outstanding visit during Fairtrade fortnight from a Ugandan tea producer, Martin Odoch, followed, in the Autumn, by the County receiving Fairtrade status. Achieving this, after a great deal of hard work and co-operation, shows to everyone that Devon is a caring county."Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation said; "We hope this will be the first of many more Fairtrade products coming from the world's conflict zones, if so, it will help make a real economic difference to the communities that need it most."Riziq will spend the fortnight from February 23 to March 8 giving talks and workshops around Devon, showing how Fairtrade has affected their lives. Arsene will be in the county from February 26 until March 4The Fairtrade Foundation finds out if products are fairly produced by a system of inspection. There are very stringent guidelines which must be followed on health and safety, hygiene, rates of pay, environmental standards and gender issues. The foundation says there are now over 3,000 Fairtrade-certified products in the UK, including coffee, dried mango, olive oil and chocolate. The Fairtrade market was worth �493 million in 2007 and is reckoned to double every two years. Notes to Editors Riziq and Arsene's visits are being coordinated by Sue Errington atDevon Development Education ( which is organizing Devon's Fairtrade Fortnight 2009.Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual campaign involving businesses, community groups, schools and churches. For further details on press events and photo calls during FairtradeFortnight, please telephone or email the Global Centre's PressOfficer, Paul Raymond, on 01392 438811, 07729 492635 Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay a fair price and an additional social premium, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional markets which traditionally discriminate against the poorest producers. Full details of events will be posted on the website . Fairtrade producers also address inequalities within their communities, for example by combating child labour and by making sure women are represented on decision-making bodies.The County Council makes Fairtrade products available to employees; all tea and coffee served at County Hall is Fairtrade, and a range of Fairtrade products including fruit juice and chocolate is available. Monday 23rd February Riziq - Exeter College 12-1pm. 7.30pm Co-op Party , Clifton Hill, Exeter. Fairtrade Reception Tuesday 24th February Riziq 11am Ilfracombe Fairtrade Town Launch, The Lantern Centre, High St, Ilfracombe. 6.30 Fawcett Society, Wat Tyler House, Exeter. Wednesday 25th February Morning: Riziq at Fairtrade Conference at Collumpton Community College 2pm - Riziq at West of England School Thursday 26th February Morning: Torbay Fairtrade Schools event at White Rock Primary School 7pm - Fairtrade Celebration at Global Centre, St Davids Hill, Exeter, with Riziq and Arsene Friday 27th February Morning: Riziq in Crediton - Queen Elizabeth Community College, Haywards Primary School, Landscove Primary School Arsene in Dawlish with Dawlish Fairtrade Town group. 7pm - both at Dawlish Fashion Show. Saturday 28th February 10am Riziq: Fairtrade Walk through Crediton town. Meeting at Totnes in evening with suppliers of Zaytoun olive oil. Sunday 1st March Riziq in South Brent for breakfast then heads to Crealy Great Adventure Park for launch of its Fairtrade Teas and Coffees.Monday 2nd March Riziq in Ivybridge for School Visits Arsene at Fairtrade Schools conference in Bovey Tracey TBC Tuesday 3 March Riziq and Arsene visit Devon County Hall for lunch 6pm Fairtrade meeting at Exeter University Wednesday 4th March Riziq at East Devon College in morning then Bovey Tracey Fairtrade Event in the evening. Friday 6th March - Banana eating world record day! Riziq and Arsene have breakfast with George Alagiah at South West Water, Exeter. They then visit Great Torrington Junior School. George Alagiah heads for a secondary schools conference at Coombeshead College, Newton Abbot. He will then have lunch at the Oldway Mansion in Torbay, and head to Exeter for tea. Riziq will be at Bideford Baptist church at 7pm in the evening. Saturday 7 March The Banana eating world record continues. Tavistock Fairtrade Fair, Parish Rooms, Tavistock.