Fairtrade Forum AGM details

The SECOND annual general meeting of Montrose Fairtrade Forum was held on March 4 in the main hall of Montrose Academy, and details are now to hand.

It was preceded by two talks. Chairman Ian Sykes introduced Kelly Ann Dempsey of Angus Council, who referred to a pamphlet produced by Scot Mid which was distributed to everyone present.

This gave details of where to buy Fairtrade in Angus, and marked the recognition of Angus in December 2012 as a Fairtrade Zone, following the establishment of a Zone Committee in May 2011.

Angus now has five Fairtrade Towns and 10 Fairtrade Schools, with another two dozen working towards this status.

The pamphlet also contains the Angus Fairtrade logo, designed by Rosie McLeod, second year pupil at Forfar Academy.

The main speaker of the evening was Douglas Eloan Recinos Lopez, a Spanish speaking coffee producer from Guatemala. His interpreter Simon referred to him as Douglas Recinos, this being his father’s surname, while Lopez was his mother’s maiden name.

Of the 95,000 coffee growers in his country, 20,000 are registered as Fairtrade producers, and operate in 64 co-operative groups.

Douglas showed the stages in coffee production, involving harvesting the ripe coffee cherries, removing pulp and drying them to parchment coffee.

Toxic waste is a by-product, and Fairtrade procedures ensure that this is segregated in pits.

Fairtrade coffee sales cover about a third of the market. Douglas explained how Fairtrade premium money was used to improve water supplies and waste water management, and build new schools. He also answered a series of questions.

The AGM began with the chairman’s report of assistance in establishing Angus FT Zone; the secretary’s intimation of leafleting at Tesco on Saturday, April 6; and the treasurer’s report of a small surplus for the year.

The following were elected – chairman, Ian Sykes; vice-chairman, vacant; secretary, vacant; treasurer, Ian Sykes; archivist, Peter Stevens. Representatives: education, Pamela Manley and Alita Spink; commerce, Ian Sykes; churches, vacant; community planning, Mark Johnston; Angus Council, Kelly Ann Dempsey; Scot Mid, Laura Paterson.

The evening concluded with thanks from the chairman to everyone who had contributed to the success of the event, including the speakers, stall holders from four of the local FT churches, and the raffle donors representing the majority of local FT outlets.

FT refreshments were then served by Academy FT pupils.