Bring out the Bunting!
MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, this week joined Fairtrade Ambassador and five time Olympic gold medalist, Sir Steve Redgrave, in Parliament in a bid to break the record for the world’s longest bunting.
The world record attempt is to mark this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight and to highlight the Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘Great Cotton Stitch-Up’ campaign – a drive to end unfair European cotton subsidies. West African cotton producers are some of the poorest farmers on the planet and yet, last year, had to compete with EU farmers who received over £600m in subsidies – the equivalent to Estonia’s entire EU contribution.
The record for the world’s longest bunting is currently 2,986 metres. Fairtrade campaigners and supporters around the country are aiming to reach at least 4,350 metres – over two and a half miles. In Knaresborough, Mr Jones joined St John’s Primary School to prepare their contribution to the bunting record bid as part of the school’s Fairtrade Fortnight activities.
The final bunting will be displayed on World Fairtrade Day, 14 May.
Andrew Jones MP, who Co-Chair’s Harrogate & District Fairtrade Steering Group commented: “It is scandalous that West African farmers who earn less than a dollar a day cannot use their farming skills to trade their way out of poverty. From the amount of Fairtrade goods in our local shops, I know trade justice is something residents really care about. I am proud to be backing Fairtrade Fortnight and their bid to break the bunting record.
“Behind this campaign is a serious message to end unfair European cotton subsidies and to make trade fair –ending the poverty cycle and starting sustainable development. That’s why I am supporting this bid, so we can help the poorest cotton farmers in the world make a decent living from their work and help developing countries get a fair deal.”
Sir Steve Redgrave adds: “I am delighted that Andrew Jones MP is backing fairtrade’s campaign. I have visited West African cotton farmers in Mali and I have seen how hard it is make a living from cotton already. Farmers there are not asking for a handout, just a level playing field so they can improve their families and communities through hard work.
‘”Working together we can end these subsidies and make their live just a little bit easier.”