A Nicaraguan coffee producer told pupils at Castle Douglas High School that being part of Fairtrade is essential to her community.
Fatima Ismael joined more than 200 pupils, councillors and representatives of Fairtrade groups at the first regional Fairtrade event at the school.
She showed a short film about coffee is made and traded on her plantation and stressed the benefits of the Fairtrade organisation to individual farmers, her co-operative and the community.
Through an interpreter she told the company: “ Without Fairtrade, we don’t know how much we will get paid for our coffee and we are very reliant on getting a good harvest every year.
“The guaranteed price arrangement and the small premium that is paid by being a Fairtrade organisation means that we can plan better, we can farm sustainability and we have been able to support our schools and health centres.
“I am delighted to share the message about Fairtrade with young people because we need them to change their shopping habits to make this last.”
Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Fairtrade Champion explained why the council was committed to Fairtrade.
He commented: “The principle of getting a fair price for the food that farmers produce is important to Dumfries and Galloway, so it’s only right that we extend that to other parts of the world.
“ Our council has been working with a wide range of businesses, schools and other organisations over the last three years to promote Fairtrade across the region, and we’re delighted to say that we’ll shortly be applying for Fairtrade Zone status.”
He added later:“ I was impressed when talking to the pupils after the formal event about how much they already know about Fairtrade and their commitment to it.”
Head Boy John Gilderdale-Smith and Head Girl Eve Francis together with representatives from each year, also spoke out Fairtrade.
Headteacher Gerald Donnelly commented: ‘The Fairtrade message about equality, respect and fairness is very appropriate for our school as these values are fundamental.
“ The pupils were really attentive, interested in the presentation and were enthusiastic about helping out with the event.
“ We plan to do some more work around this in the future as it makes a strong contribution to a range of curriculum subjects.”
Fairtrade Fortnight ran from February 29 to March 13 and Fatima’s visit was sponsored by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum. Her company is soppexcca and her web is www.soppexcca.org