The world record attempt is to mark this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight and to highlight the Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘Great Cotton Stitch-Up’ campaign – a drive to end unfair European cotton subsidies. West African cotton producers are some of the poorest farmers on the planet and yet, last year, had to compete with EU farmers who received over £600m in subsidies – the equivalent to Estonia’s entire EU contribution.
The record for the world’s longest bunting is currently 2,986 metres. Fairtrade campaigners and supporters around the country are aiming to reach at least 4,350 metres – over two and a half miles.
The final bunting will be displayed on World Fairtrade Day, 14 May.
Commenting, Naomi Long MP said: “It is scandalous that West African farmers who earn less than $1 a day cannot use their farming skills to trade their way out of poverty. As someone who sat on the Steering Panel which saw Belfast become the first Fairtrade city on the island of Ireland, I know that local people really care about trade justice and I am delighted to be backing Fairtrade in their bid to break the bunting record.
“Behind this campaign is a serious message to end unfair European cotton subsidies and to make trade fair. That’s why I am supporting this bid, so we can help some poorest cotton farmers in the world make a decent living from their work.”
Sir Steve Redgrave added: “I am delighted that Naomi Long is backing Fairtrade’s campaign. I have visited West African cotton farmers in Mali and I have seen how hard it is make a living from cotton already. Farmers there are not asking for a handout, just a level playing field so they can improve their families and communities through hard work.
“Working together we can end these subsidies and make their live just a little bit easier.”