Fairtrade raisins grown in Afghanistan with the help of Scots charity Mercy Corps will go on sale for the first time in Edinburgh and Glasgow next week. The Tropical Wholefoods raisins will reach the shelves of the One World Shop in both cities in time to mark Fairtrade Fortnight (28 February – 13 March).
The raisins are grown by Afghan farmers in the Shomali Plain in Afghanistan, an area torn by war for the last 20 years. With advice, training and support from Edinburgh-based humanitarian agency Mercy Corps, 300 farmers in the Shomali region pulled together in a co-operative to increase the quality of their crop, learn new farming techniques, meet Fairtrade standards and earn enough from their land to support their families. Mercy Corps connected the farmers with Tropical Wholefoods, a UK based fair trade importer of tropical fruit and nuts, who now buy the raisins and sell them in the UK via independent stores like the One World Shop.
Mark Chadwick, Mercy Corps Programme Officer said:
“Life in Afghanistan is tough for ordinary families. It’s one of the poorest countries in the world, and decades of fighting have devastated traditional farming trades like raisin production. We’ve been working with the farmers of the Shomali Plains to help them make the most of their raisin crops and earn enough to provide for their families, and selling to UK markets is a great opportunity. The raisins are of a really high quality, approved by experts and Fairtrade certified, so it’s a huge accomplishment and the extra income is really making a difference for the farmers and their families.”
Rachel Farey, Business Manager of the One World Shop said:
“We’re really pleased to be able to stock this pioneering new product in time for Fairtrade Fortnight. This project has brought the benefits of Fairtrade to a whole new and challenging part of the world and we’re sure these Afghan raisins are going to sell well. Shoppers are more interested than ever before in the people behind their everyday products and this is just one of many interesting Fairtrade foods and gifts on our shelves.”
Photos and interviews available.
For more information contact Erin Gray, Mercy Corps Press Officer:
Tel: +44 (0)131 662 5164
Mobile: +44 (0)791 7532954
Notes to editors
Mercy Corps helps people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve. Driven by local needs, our programmes provide communities in the world’s toughest places with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives. Our worldwide team in 36 countries is improving the lives of 19 million people. For more information, please visit www.mercycorps.org.uk
The One World Shop is a pioneering fair trade organisation. It has been raising awareness of fair trade and selling the very best in fairly traded products from around the world since 1983. It sells a wide range of food, crafts, jewellery, textiles, toys, ceramics, cards, and books. It currently operate two shops - one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh and sell a small range of products online. One World Shop also works with schools, faith communities and local businesses in education work to promote fair trade.
Edinburgh shop: St John’s Church, Princes Street, EH2 4BJ
Glasgow shop: 649 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 8RE
For more information, call 0131 229 4541 or visit www.oneworldshop.co.uk
Tropical Wholefoods was established by husband and wife team Adam Brett and Kate Sebag eighteen years ago in order to win lasting markets for farmers in developing countries. It supplies its products to health food chains such as Wholefoods, Planet Organic and Holland and Barrett as well as independent and fine food shops, and Oxfam shops nationwide. Tropical Wholefoods sells online and also exports to Europe, Scandinavia and the Far East. Most of their products carry the Fairtrade Mark, the only independent consumer guarantee of a fair deal for farmers in developing countries. In the UK the Fairtrade Mark is administered by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Tropical Wholefoods works with business partners in some of the world’s poorer countries. It buys organic dried bananas and pineapples from Fruits of the Nile in Uganda which in turn works with more than 700 farmers. It buys dried apricots, walnuts, almonds and apricot kernels from Mountain Fruits which works with more than 1500 farmers in the remote, arid mountains of northern Pakistan. It buys dried mangoes and cashews from Farming Associations WOUOL and TON in Burkina Faso. www.tropicalwholefoods.co.uk