bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, February 28, 2005

Check out Fairtrade

Fairtrade Fortnight starts on Tuesday 1 March (in the UK at least) and there are some 2,500 events across the country. The Fairtrade movement, now eleven years old in the UK, aims to give disadvantaged farmers in developing countries a better trading deal.

Coffee is one of the key Fairtrade products, but honey features too. There's a slightly incomprehensible article on Fairtrade honey in Mexico in New Consumer magazine, and a much better one about Zambian Fairtrade honey on the Waitrose website.
[In Zambia,] the collapse of the world copper price has cut a swathe through the country's biggest industry, and HIV-AIDS has ravaged its urban population, infecting some 25 per cent of adults, creating tens of thousands of orphans, and leading to a worrying breakdown in normally strong African family structures. It was, he said looking out of the window, down at the deep, lush green of rainy-season Zambia, a tragedy. “Such a beautiful place, such lovely people. But the corruption...”

But Bob Malichi refuses to be pessimistic. “I believe honey is Zambia's future, the solution to our problems,” he says. “Honey is always there. If you look after the bees, they'll produce for you. Our honey is unique because it's organically produced. There's no pollution, nothing is added, it comes straight from the forest.” Straight from the forest, in fact, to Bob's factory where it is barrelled for the road journey to Dar es Salaam in neighbouring Tanzania, whence it is shipped to the UK. Within a month of a beekeeper climbing to his hive, Zambian honey can be spread on a Londoner's toast for breakfast.


Blogger Rufus said...

I had a feeling that both the Adam Smith Institute and George Monbiot were opposed to "Fairtrade ". I can't really see the point of creating an artifical honey price. Unlike other agricultural products home grown honey isn't the recipient of big EU subsidies.

3:32 pm  

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