BASINGSTOKE residents will get to hear about the hardship faced by banana farmers as part of Fairtrade Fortnight.

Towns across Hampshire will be welcoming Dorothy Agard, a Fairtrade producer from the Windward Islands, as part of a campaign to highlight the difficulties banana farmers face.

Dorothy, a member of the Windward Islands Farmers’ Association (WINFA), will visit Basingstoke on March 6, attending an event at Silchester Primary School.

The banana farmer will also be taking part in a debate later on in the day at the United Reformed Church, in London Road, Basinsgtoke, between 7pm and 9pm.

Unfair pricing on farmers and workers who grow some of our favourite fruit mean farmers like Dorothy struggle to cover the costs of running small family farms that use more socially and environmentally-friendly methods, but have higher costs because of the hilly terrain, lower yields and higher transport and labour costs.

The Fairtrade intiative ensures farmers across the developing world receive a decent price for their hard work, as well as an additional Fairtrade Premium, used by producers and workers to invest in their communities.

Dorothy, who has been a banana farmer for more than a decade, said: “I’m looking foward to visiting Hampshire, and telling people firsthand about the difference Fairtrade makes to farmers’ lives.

“Amongst the many benefits provided by Fairtrade, I’m most thankful for the scholarship programme made possible through the Fairtrade Premiums. It has enhanced the lives of many of our children. With Fairtrade, our future looks brighter.”