montrose Fairtrade Forum attracted its largest audience to date for Fairtrade Fortnight at a recent special meeting to mark the event.
The meeting, held in Montrose Academy on Thursday, was opened by John McAllion from Dundee who explained how the campaign to make Scotland a Fairtrade Nation began. In 2007, activists from throughout Scotland met in Perth to form the Scottish Fairtrade Forum.
First Minister Jack McConnell suggested a Fairtrade Nation could become their project. which received all-party backing, leading to government funding.
Masauko Khembo, general manager of Kasinthula Cane Growers Limited, showed slides about Fairtrade sugar production in Malawi, and of the improvements made from the extra premium money of 60 US dollars per tonne of sugar. This finances a Community Action Plan allowing new land to be bought and the replacement of agricultural equipment. Improvements to the community have also been carried out including a new primary school, a clean water supply and an electricity supply.
During the forum’s AGM, chairman Ian Sykes thanked all participants, and presented gifts to the speakers and to Peter Stevens, who retired after five years as secretary. A certificate renewing Montrose’s status as a Fairtrade Town for the next two years was presented to Mr Sykes by Kate Paterson, a member of the Fairtrade Foundation.