A UGANDAN Fairtrade coffee producer visits the Borders next week to describe her life and the importance of the Fairtrade movement during Fairtrade Fortnight, writes Sally Gillespie.
Farmer Justine Watalunga, who grows beans for the Cafedirect instant coffee and Equal Exchange’s Mt Elgon Gumutindo Ground Coffee, is one of four producers visiting the UK during the fortnight and she will give talks throughout the region next week.
The 49-year-old mother of six said: “The Fairtrade Premium is like a miracle to us; it comes directly into our hands. It is an acknowledgement of our work, of what we are capable of and who we are. It is so important to us, so to have the opportunity to meet with people who buy our coffee is just incredible.”
This year Fairtrade is asking people to Go Further by trying a Fairtrade product they have not bought before.
Kirstin Scott, from the Borders Fairtrade Steering Group which is working towards achieving Fairtrade Zone status in the Borders, says: “Justine is going further this Fairtrade Fortnight by travelling all this way to give people in the Borders an invaluable opportunity to hear about life as a farmer in the developing world, and how the UK’s buying patterns can affect her daily life.
“We would love for those in the Borders to go further too by coming along to the events and seeing the difference Fairtrade can make to the lives of Justine and her fellow farmers.”
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont, who will share a platform with the coffee farmer in Hawick and Duns, said: ‘We are incredibly lucky to have Justine visit us. I would encourage everyone to attend one of her talks and learn more about her life and experiences. “
Ms Watalunga will be talking at a public meeting at Connections in Selkirk’s Back Row on Tuesday (February 26) at 7.30pm, at a coffee morning at Whitmuir Organics near West Linton on Wednesday at 11am, at Berwickshire High School, Duns on Wednesday at 7.30pm, at next Thursday’s council meeting at Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells in the morning, and at a public meeting in Sainsbury’s in Hawick that evening at 7pm.