SCHOOLS and farms across North Powys welcomed visitors from East Africa during a specially arranged YFC visit designed to mark Fairtrade Fortnight.

Nimrod Wambette, a coffee farmer and the chairman of a Fairtrade coffee cooperative in Eastern Uganda, visited Montgomeryshire during Fairtrade Fortnight. Nimrod, the first Fairtrade producer to visit Montgomeryshire, was invited by Montgomery YFC for their first-of-a-kind project.

Mr Wambette visited farms, schools and businesses across Mid Wales and the Shropshire Borders during his visit. Pontrobert Primary School, alongside neighbouring Meifod Primary School also welcomed Nimrod on World Book Day.

Ffion Storer Jones, Montgomery YFC project manager who organised the visit, said: “The aim of this project was to provide an opportunity for young farmers, students and the wider community to discuss global issues relating to farming and food production.

“Agriculture is facing unprecedented challenges, and projects like this one are vital for opening up the discussion surrounding these issues and ensuring that the next generation of farmers and consumers are aware of them.”

“Fairtrade Fortnight is a time when people across the UK celebrate the people who grow our food – often people who live in some of the poorest countries in the world.”

Catherine Parry, Head of Pontrobert Primary School said: “It was an amazing experience for our pupils to meet Nimrod. They learnt so much about the benefits of Fairtrade and about life for our fellow global citizens. It was an honour for us to be part of the project and we look forward to the next project.”

Llanfyllin High School also welcomed Nimrod. Following an assembly on the impact of fluctuating market prices on British milk farmers and Ugandan coffee producers alike.

Megan Jones-Evans, deputy head girl, said: “We’ve learnt so much from the assembly and the discussions we had with Nimrod. One of the biggest things that stood out for me, is that Fairtrade is more than just a fair price for farmers.

“The additional premium that farmers receive when we buy Fairtrade products can also support their communities to buy mosquito nets, or support children to go to school for example.”

A handful of dairy, beef and sheep farms in the area were paid a visit too. Llanfyllin YFC member Sian Lewis gave a tour of her family farm, and John and Sarah Yeomans, Farmers Weekly’s sheep farmers of the year hosted Nimrod on their farm in Adfa.

Nimrod said: “Sheep and cattle farmers in Mid Wales and coffee producers in Africa are facing many of the same challenges. These include low prices, access to markets, too little or too much legislation, and difficult working conditions. I received such a warm welcome by Montgomery YFC and their community. I hope that we can continue to stand in solidarity and call for fair prices and treatment for farmers and workers across the world.”

The project included two public panel discussions; in Welshpool and Glantwymyn, with representatives of Aberystwyth University, The Farmers Union of Wales, Cambrian Training and The Cooperative contributing to lively discussions on diverse issues related to rural life and food production; from erratic weather patterns to the importance of movements like the YFC, consumer demands, roles of supermarkets in food production, opportunities for young people in rural areas and more.

Delyth Robinson, Chair of Montgomery YFC, said: “The panel discussions and farm tours were a brilliant opportunity for members of Montgomery YFC to engage with and discuss farming challenges both near and far. It’s been a great experience to host Nimrod and we hope to host similar projects again”.

Ffion added: “Fairtrade Fortnight is a time when people across the UK celebrate the people who grow our food – often people who live in some of the poorest countries in the world. Through this project, we have been able to work in partnership with farmers in Wales and from Africa to highlight the need to be paying farmers everywhere a fair price for their work. Afterall, the food we eat depends on a farmer to produce it.”

Montgomery YFC would like to thank everyone who supported the project, made possible with funding by the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme, administered by the Welsh Centre for Voluntary Action.