The latest Traidcraft Newsletter is in the magazine rack in the church porch.  It is brief but well worth a read.  Among the highlights are:-

a) Chilean Beekeeping Co-op – is diversifying into the growing of blueberries.  Their bees pollinate the blueberries, and the honey and blueberries are used in Geobars and other fair trade products.  The increased income means more benefits for the co-operative including more jobs and the development of a community bank.

b) Traidcraft Exchange’s latest project aims to assist jute growers in some of the poorest areas of Bangladesh whose average income is around $0.70/day!  Jute produces vital cash income, food security and employment.  It can be harvested between the growing seasons for rice, it enriches the soil and the sticks left after the fibre is removed can be used for fuel and building materials – in short it is a wonderful product economically and environmentally.  The Traidcraft project, supported by DfID funding, will help growers improve their crops and find new markets.

c) Another recent Traidcraft Exchange project for business and product development training has helped those involved to weather the global financial crisis.  One group in Cambodia has developed high quality products for the tourist market which are much in demand.

d) Monsoon provides opportunity! – an unlikely headline but not when the Monsoon in question is the UK fashion retail group who have concluded a deal with Traidcraft supplier, Tara in India.  Monsoon had been impressed by the handmade cards which Marks & Spencers had sourced from another Traidcraft supplier and now they will be buying Christmas decorations from Tara.  The article also introduces us to a family benefiting from their work with Tara – the widowed head of the family has a secure income and her eldest daughter hopes to learn to read and write through Tara’s literacy classes.