By Harry Hill, comedian, entertainer, Fairtrade supporter and authority on salted peanuts
To celebrate World Fair Trade Day (12 May) I’m working behind the till at the Oxfam shop on Kensington High Street where I once bought a stuffed puffin.
I want to highlight that in many Oxfam shops – around 200 in fact – you can buy Fairtrade snacks and drinks as well as second hand clothes, toys and books.
And from today these Fairtrade products include Harry’s Nuts!, the extra-roasted Salted Peanuts, Salted Cashews and Crunchy Peanut Butter which I launched after visiting smallholder peanut farmers in Malawi. Meeting them made me want to help them sell their nuts for better prices and to secure a market over here.
What’s doubly great about buying them from Oxfam (or Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and other outlets too) is that the profits go towards the vital work the charity does fighting poverty around the world. None of the profit goes to me (what a mug). I came up with the idea to back the farmers in Malawi – and now other farmers in Mozambique, Nicaragua and India are involved too.
I work with Liberation Foods on this – the 100% Fairtrade nut company with a co-operative of farming groups as its biggest shareholder. The company’s run to support the farmers and help them build better livelihoods.
I’ve supported Fairtrade since I first visited banana and cocoa farmers in Ghana in 2002. It’s been great to see the movement grow and grow over the years and involve more and more farmers, products and supporters.
What I love most about Fairtrade is that it makes such simple sense. As Dyborn Chibonga, from the smallholder farmers in Malawi told me: ‘A bag of peanuts can just be a bag of peanuts – or it can be a way of helping farmers to build a real future for their families and communities and help build a real way forward for smallholder farmers in Malawi.’
So buy Fairtrade. There’s no better way of going NUTS!
Don’t forget, buying Harry’s Nuts! counts as a step for Fairtrade, so add it to the step o meter at www.fairtrade.org.uk/step to help reach the target of 1.5 million steps for farmers and workers who need a better deal from trade.