Video: How Fairtrade helps the lives of villagers

Scottish co-operatives have teamed up to promote Fairtrade through a special film.

Scottish co-operatives have teamed up to promote Fairtrade through a special film.

The Co-operative Group's membership team has helped produce a film that explains the principles behind Fairtrade with social enterprise Just Trading Scotland and worker co-operative mediaco-op.

Starring Zaimat Fundi, 14, from Malawi, the film shows how lives have been transformed by Fairtrade. Says Zaimat: “After school I help my Mum plant rice. My ambition when I grow up is, I want to buy two cows for my Mum, and a plough.”

'Savour the Flavour', which will go on tour through Scotland over summer, premiered this month at the conference of the Group's area committees.

Liz Armstrong, from Co-operative Membership, says: “We got much more than we bargained for. We’d just wanted the film as a supplement for the 'Savour the Flavour' cooking events that we run to encourage our customers to try out African recipes using our Fairtrade products. But now the film’s finished, we’ve discovered it speaks for itself as well. We’ll be able to make much more use of our film than we ever imagined, as a stand-alone introduction to the principles of Fair Trade.”

In the film Robin Stewart of Co-operative Membership speaks trenchantly about the principles: “The alternative to Fairtrade is the exploitation of people by large multinational corporations. They would be forced to accept the minimum prices, in a cycle of never-ending poverty.”

Nyakio Ndungu from Glasgow’s Calabash Restaurant explains in the DVD: “When you buy a Fairtrade product, you make a difference to a farmer, to their family, and to the wider community as well.”

Nyakio adds, from a cook’s point of view: “For me, it’s not just about the justice, it’s also about the quality of the ingredients. Food is made to be eaten, not to be looked at! At the end of the day, it’s got to be good for you. If there was no Fairtrade and the farmer had to compete with mass-produced products, with they would end up using pesticides. Fairtrade means that there’s more resources so they can produce more organically in a way that’s better for the environment.”

Tracy Mitchell of Just Trading reflects on the experience of commissioning a film. “We started with an idea and worked collaboratively with media co-op. It really helped that the filmmakers share our values, we didn’t have to keep explaining things. In the end we were really impressed with how professional it turned out. It’s definitely value for money as it’ll have a long lifespan. For me, the film hits the right note, it catches people’s interest and it really flows."

The DVD puts a human face on the Fairtrade principles, bringing Malawian farmers together on screen with activists and traders in Scotland to bring to life the benefits of FairTrade for both producers and consumers.

'Savour the Flavour' was directed by mediaco-op’s newest and youngest co-op member, Vilte Vaitkute. “It was such fun working with people who are so passionate about what they do,” comments Vilte. “And really rewarding to know the DVD is going out on the Savour the Flavour roadshow all across Scotland this summer. The best thing since sliced Fairtrade bread!”

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