A survey by fair trade organisation Traidcraft reveals that six out of 10 people in the UK couldn’t go a day without access to the internet, while the majority could not survive without their smartphones.
In late December, Traidcraft commissioned a survey that asked people across the UK what they considered to be their daily necessities.
In the same month, representatives from Traidcraft visited smallholder farms in Bangladesh and asked them the same question – as you might expect, the results were very different.
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‘During a very recent trip to Bangladesh, we asked farmers what their top necessities in life were and they listed things like electricity, irrigation systems for the fields and food on the table. This contrasts greatly with the necessities we in this country consider to be important.
‘Traidcraft works in some of the world’s poorest countries and we really are changing lives. We’re giving people who may live in small shelters and farm tiny pieces of land a future, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to grow their way out of poverty. By supporting Traidcraft’s Fair Necessities appeal, you can help change lives around the world.’
Larry Bush, marketing director at Traidcraft
The survey marks the launch of Traidcraft’s Fair Necessities Appeal, the charity’s biggest ever fundraising appeal to help smallholder farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries escape poverty and build better lives.
Smallholder farmers produce 70% of the world’s food, yet represent 50% of the planet’s poorest people.
Many of these farmers struggle to afford enough food to eat, basic levels of healthcare for their families and education for their children.
Traidcraft works with smallholder farmers in countries including Bangladesh and regions of India and East Africa to teach them more effective cultivation techniques and better business practices. The goal is to help them grow more crops, earn more and therefore eat more.
A smallholder farmer currently working closely with Traidcraft in Bangladesh is Josna Begum; in the last year she has seen her profits from crops grow by 700%. This is down to learning new growing techniques that have transformed her farming and, as a result, her life.
Feroz Ahmed, Traidcraft’s senior project manager in Bangladesh, works closely with Josna. Feroz said, ‘She did not know about soil testing, she did not know about the importance of compost fertiliser. Now she is acting as a role model farmer for her community, and many of the farmers nearby are following her advice and are changing their own cultivation techniques.’
‘Before joining the project my social and financial conditions were very poor. I had a house made of paper, and faced problems with being isolated and getting my children an education. I felt so sad then. Now my production is double what it was.’
Josna Begum, smallholder farmer in Bangladesh
The Fair Necessities appeal will run until 03 April 2015, and the UK government will match every pound raised through the UK Aid Match scheme so that public support for the appeal will go twice as far.
‘Around 28 million people in Bangladesh live in extreme poverty, unable to access the basic necessities that so many of us take for granted.
‘Traidcraft’s Fair Necessities Appeal will help smallholder farmers around the world support themselves to escape poverty. By matching public donations to the appeal pound-for-pound, we can give isolated farming households in Bangladesh the skills, equipment and services they need to boost their incomes, improving the quality of life of thousands of people for good.’
Justine Greening, International Development Secretary
You can donate to the appeal by visiting Traidcraft’s website or texting ‘DOUBLE’ to 70500 from your mobile phone to donate £5.
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