This Fairtrade Fortnight, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum hosted Fatima Ismael, a Fair Trade producer from Nicaragua. Fatima is General Manager of coffee co-operative SOPPEXCCA. The Unión de Co-operativas Agropecuarias (UCA) SOPPEXCCA is a union of 18 co-operatives located in the department of Jinotega in northern Nicaragua where 60% of the country’s coffee is produced.
On Monday Fatima visited two schools in Glasgow: Hillhead Primary and Greenview. At the schools, Fatima told the children about growing coffee in Nicaragua and the difference Fair Trade makes for children and families in Nicaragua. Pupils also had the opportunity to ask questions of Fatima. They wanted to know more about how coffee is grown, and how Fatima ended up working for a coffee co-operative.
Fatima spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the Highlands. She visited two primary schools: Strathpeffer and Ullapool as well as Ullapool High School. Fatima also attended a public meeting at Ullapool village hall. Fatima enjoyed a brief visit to the nursery unit in Ullapool Primary where, at one stage, a discussion on Fair Trade was conducted in English, Spanish and Gaelic.
Fatima emphasised the difference her coffee co-operative had made to women. Participation rates for women are now 30% compared to less than 2% when the co-operative was established, with women now owning land previously owned by their male relatives.
On Thursday Fatima was the main speaker at the “Ferry to a Fairtrade Future” event on a Northlink ferry in Aberdeen harbour, after which she travelled to Melrose to speak at the Greener Melrose meeting. Fatima spoke of the effect of climate change on coffee growing, the challenges it presents and the adaptations they have had to make.
Finally, on Friday Fatima spoke at Castle Douglas High School in Dumfries and Galloway.