13 th Feb Fairtrade Fortnight-Meet Ben
Ben is a tea farmer. Although he is Fairtrade certified, Ben is not able to sell enough on Fairtrade terms to give his family the future he would like, as the market price for tea is so low. As a result, his son had to drop out of school and move away to work and he doesn’t earn enough to be able to send money back. Ben hopes for a brighter future for his daughter. But because of the cost of school fees, she still hasn’t been able to finish her schooling.
‘It has also been difficult to cover school fees. My daughter is 24 years old and still in Year 4 [usually for 16 year olds]. It is the lack of funds that has delayed her education.’
In addition to infrastructure and community projects, farmers have invested their Fairtrade Premium in boosting productivity so they can earn more from their farms.
‘I have been a member since 2007. The access to subsidised fertiliser has resulted in the tea being greener and me growing more – 300-400 kg per month.’
Ben wants to improve his farm and grow more, but after buying food to feed his family, isn’t left with enough to buy new seedlings.
‘I encourage you to drink more tea from Malawi: from smallholders and on Fairtrade terms, for the betterment of us farmers.’
Image: (c) Fairtrade Foundation