Fair trade benefits explained

Cocoa grower Rose Boatemaa Mensah. Photo by Gerard O'Brien
Cocoa grower Rose Boatemaa Mensah. Photo by Gerard O'Brien
Buying fair trade chocolate helps empower women to be equal with men, a West African cocoa farmer told Dunedin school pupils yesterday.

Rose Boatemaa Mensah (30), from Brong Ahafo, Ghana, is spending 12 days in New Zealand on a visit organised by Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking to pupils at Dunedin North Intermediate School, Mrs Mensah said earnings from cocoa helped fund a mobile health clinic for her community. This was made possible by the premium earned by the fair trade system, she emphasised.

Over time, it was hoped the community could build a permanent clinic.

She and her husband were part of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union, a free trade certified organisation with 85,000 members. Run on democratic lines, the organisation encouraged women to be equal with men in participation, she said.

''With fair trade, I have a future,'' Mrs Mensah said.

Funds from fair trade goods also paid for education and clean water initiatives.

Pupils from Purakaunui School and North East Valley Normal School also attended the talk.

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