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Fairtrade and Oxfam shops

Oxfam has been a leading supporter of fairer trade with farmers and producers around the world since the early 1960s. And since then, Oxfam has been proud to offer products from the leading Fairtrade brands in our shops and support these companies’ commitment to raising the bar, through fairtrade to deliver more to empower producers. Every time you buy a fairtrade product, you're supporting someone else in the world - like the women telling their stories below.

Juliet Brago is 45 years old, a mother of two and has been a cocoa farmer for 14 years. She joined Kuapa Kokoo, the co-operative of cocoa farmers who co-own Divine Chocolate in 2002 and has her own 10 acre cocoa farm.

Juliet is one of over a million cocoa farmers in Ghana – one of the biggest producers of cocoa in the world. Though the demand for chocolate around the world is growing fast.

Juliet joined Kuapa Kokoo because as a farmer-owned organization members are dealt with fairly, receive a good price for their cocoa, and are paid bonuses. Joining Kuapa provides benefits for women and their children, and women's participation is required for village sociaties to join the co-operative.

Juliet says, “It is very important for women to take part in leadership positions because women are a part of Kuapa and they take part in all aspects of the cocoa production. Kuapa has given me the opportunity to educate and train my [two] children well.” Her son Prince is 25 years old and is a manufacturing apprentice. Her daughter Nana Adjoa is 20 years old and is currently at university studying law but she received a scholarship from Kuapa Kokoo to support her elementary education.

Kabore Christine has fifteen children to look after, eight of her own and the others belong to other women who are in the Cote d'Ivoire. Many of the women in the co-operatives are Burkinabe who went to Cote d’Ivoire in hopes of improving their livelihoods, but returned to Burkina after war broke out, leaving many with no land, no employment and many widowed.

Tropical Wholefoods have worked with Fairtrade co-operatives in Burkina Faso for more than 20 years. Fairtrade and the social premium benefits the community as a whole, but women are the backbone and heart of the operation, making up the vast majority of the workers who produce this delicious Fairtrade mango. Being a part of the co-operative allows women like Kabore Christine to support their families from the regular wages they earn, ensuring their children receive an education, and obtaining medical supplies when needed.

The cooperatives also use their Fairtrade premium within their communitites, to build canteens where the women can eat and relax, provide loans for bicycles so they can get to work on time and for gas cookers for their homes. They have also contributed to health care centres which house adult literacy classes and a crèche.

She thanks the co-operative and Fairtrade for their survival, but it is the women in her immediate co-operative who bring her the most support: “First of all there is solidarity. If you have a problem, everyone supports each other.”

Esperanza Dionisio Castillo is from the Satipo province, located in the central Amazon rainforest of Peru. She works hard to challenge norms and social barriers, and is paving the way for female leadership and equal opportunities in farming. She has been the General Manager of the Cafédirect co-op CAC Pangoa for the past fifteen years, a leading farmer organisation in the region which is continuing to build strong channels to export its delicious coffee around the world. The co-op, which has been partners with Cafédirect since 2004, has Fairtrade and Organic certification and now produces honey and cocoa too.

Esperanza is a driving force behind the co-op's community programmes which help promote education, female leadership and gender equality, including setting up the Pangoa’s Women’s Development Committee. This supports the female members, wives, and daughters of the co-op, providing loans to women and gives them assistance on farming, handicrafts and animal husbandry too.

Cafédirect work closely with Esperanza and the Pangoa co-operative to support their work, and when Cafédirect's held its biggest producer conference to date, Joint Futures in 2013, Esperanza and the Pangoa co-op were the hosts with Esperanza as the guest speaker.

In Kerala on India's Southern Coast, Aniamma Roy rises every day at 5am to milk the cows and feed the cattle, before preparing breakfast. Aniamma, her husband and two grown up children who are studying nursing and Physics usually eat tapioca, jackfruit or Dosa made from rice batter and black lentils.

Aniamma is a cashew nut farmer and vice-chair of the Kerala co-operative, Fair Trade Alliance Kerala, which gives producers like her better job security, more secure pricing for the nuts they produce and a greater knowledge of their market.

Aniamma says 'Fairtrade can change the world for farmers. The premium goes a long way to help fund essential things such as education, medication, training, the welfare of our animals. Selling our nuts to our own company, Liberation, gives us a secure income so that my children can stay in education and fulfil their ambitions.'

For many, palm oil is a hugely controversial ingredient as it is associated with large plantations that destroy rainforests and damage the environment. But Amae knows a different story. In her home country of Ghana, oil palms grow naturally alongside other crops and represent a sustainable route out of poverty.

Because of this Traidcraft pioneered its own fairtrade palm oil, FairPalm, which is helping farmers like Amae get a fair wage and consistent orders for their work. It’s turning a controversial ingredient into a life changing one.

The income from Amae's palm fruits helps her afford essentials like healthcare, shelter and education for her children. Alongside her palm and cocoa crops, Amae also grows maize and plantain to make sure her young family has enough food to eat.

Her smallholding is a great example of how oil palms can grow sustainably, in a way that encourages food security and biodiversity, helping people like Amae leave poverty behind for good.

Zaytoun pioneered the sale of Fairtrade Palestinian olive oil, and continues to bring the tastiest of fairly-traded artisan foods from Palestinian growers to British customers. All over Palestine, women like Basima Atyani from the village of Anza rise early to bake mana’eesh for their family. There’s not much better than this Palestinian breakfast – warm flatbread fresh from the oven, sprinkled with za’atar and liberally drizzled with olive oil from the family’s trees, teamed with hummus, creamy yoghurt and a new egg.

Growing numbers of Palestinian women are also finding satisfaction in their work outside the home. With many men out of work, farming family lands provides important income and women have turned traditional smallholding skills into successful enterprises. Famous for being a village that honours education for girls and young women, Anza’s women's co-operative is one of the strongest in the area, supporting the women’s work and their voice on the village council.

The women took a proposal to the council to create a meeting place in the village for families where the children could play while parents exchanged news. The park and cafeteria that were built are now the main gathering place for many of the women in Anza’s co-op, a perfect place to enjoy views of the sea and the abundant plains that surround this hilltop village.

A short history of Oxfam and Fairtrade