The first ever Fairtrade Baked Beans made with white kidney beans are now being produced by farmers from China are now available.
The baked beans which carry the Fairtrade Mark are produced by Geo Organics and the beans come from farmers who belong to the Jurihe/Zhaluteqi Nature Village Farmer Association, based in one of China’s poorest rural regions of Tong Liao City in Inner Mongolia.
The Fairtrade certified co-operative is made up of 39 farmers who together farm on around 2,000 hectares, and, produce around 3,000 tonnes a year of pulses, including the white kidney beans.
Ashish Deo, Commercial Director of the Fairtrade Foundation said: ”
It’s great to see the Fairtrade family of products continue to grow and Fairtrade pioneers like Geo Organics support a group of Fairtrade farmers who amongst the most marginalized in the world.
“One of the Fairtrade’s key objectives is to make Fairtrade the norm and what better way than by introducing a Fairtrade version of firm UK favourite.”
The Fairtrade Mark is the only label which gives groups of farmers and producers the means to improve their livelihoods through the guaranteed minimum price and premium for social, environmental and business projects.
Around 7.5 million people (farmers, workers, their families and communities) – across 58 developing countries in the developing world benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
The group has been Fairtrade certified since 2009, for pulses, soybeans and peanuts. Mr Liu Gui Hai, chair of the co-operative said:
“We have invested the social premium in building a well for the village which helps the farmers greatly.”
Any new Fairtrade premium will be invested in education – books, equipment, classroom refurbishment, even whole new school buildings.
At the moment, children often have to make journeys of over an hour on foot to reach the nearest school and in the depths of winter, when temperatures can drop to minus 20 degrees C, the walk to classes is out of the question.
The farmers also plan to invest in heaters and warm clothes to see them through the worst of the winter.
Mike Batten who started the Geo Organics brand with his wife Tracey said: “It’s been great watching the product evolve and working with Waitrose, who really know this product category and are stocking the Fairtrade Baked Beans in all their stores.
“I want to encourage British shoppers to give Fairtrade baked beans a try! This is an everyday item that will really make a difference to the lives of Mongolian bean producers.”