[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]A Guatemalan farmer is visiting Renfrewshire to pass on his experience of how Fairtrade has transformed the prospects for his rural community.

Ismael Diaz Rivas will be visiting schools, businesses and community groups during Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 23 February to 8 March.

Ismael is president of the CIPAC cooperative which operates in the North West of Guatemala and currently comprises 140 members- 105 of which are beekeepers, 20 are coffee producers and 15 operating in both markets.

Being part of a Fairtrade cooperative allows Ismael, and his community, to benefit from increased income, training, technical assistance, investment in facilities and access to loans. Without this help the producers would struggle to earn enough money to have a basic standard of living.

Ismael will be taking his place as one of the judges for the Renfrewshire Fairtrade bake off on Saturday 28 February, which will see bakers battle it out to take first place by using as many Fairtrade ingredients as possible in their creation. All are welcome to attend, taste the cakes after the judging and learn more about Fairtrade.

Councillor Jim Sharkey, Chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Ismael to Renfrewshire to help us celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight and I’m sure his visit will prove inspiring for all those who cross his path.

“A tremendous amount of work takes place by many committed individuals and organisations in Renfrewshire and it is fantastic to see this work vindicated by Ismael’s appreciation and kind words.

“Having had experience in the co-operative movement myself, it is great to meet a fellow cooperator and see that this method of working can be mirrored in different countries and organisations.

“I am looking forward to taking my place alongside Ismael judging the Renfrewshire Fairtrade bake off on Saturday at Paisley Town Hall. I would urge people to come along to meet Ismael and hear his fascinating life story.”

Rainbow Turtle will host a Traidcraft Big Brew at the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Bake Off, selling Fair Trade tea, coffee and cakes for everyone at the Bake Off and raising money for the Traidcraft exchange. Fairtrade goods will also be in offer at the Rainbow Turtle stall.

For more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/fairtrade.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]