Mangoes to Marlborough
As part of Fairtrade Fortnight there will be a meeting entitled Mangoes to Marlborough from The Gambia. It is on Saturday, 3 March in Marlborough Town Hall in the presence of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Marlborough was recognised as a Fairtrade Town in 2016.
Marlborough has been partnered with the Muslim community of Gunjur in The Gambia for the past 35 years. The West Coast region of The Gambia is rich in thousands of mango trees, but sadly up to now the majority of the fruit lies rotting on the ground - as in the photo above.
At the same time many young Gambians are taking the 'back way' to Europe from The Gambia (many drowning in the Mediterranean during the crossing from Libya to Italy.) They leave their homes as they do not see any future in terms of employment.
Now steps are being taken to turn those mangoes into a business and find a way to export them to Britain. Encouraging the mango industry will create employment and wealth. The Marlborough Fairtrade committee works closely with Tesco who have expressed interest in this programme.
The meeting in the Town Hall will be addressed by the Chair of the Marlborough Fairtrade committee Allison Burden, Baai Jabang (the Gambian Director of TARUD - the Marlborough Brandt Group's partner organisation in Gunjur), Perez Ochieng (an importer of sweet potato from Kenya), Malcolm Johnston (who has experience of importing papaya from Ghana) and Vivienne Kynaston from 'Shared Interest.'
The meeting will be held in the presence of Gambians living in Bristol who will contribute to the discussion and the panel will be quizzed by young people from Wiltshire who have joined the charity Thriving Through Venture and who will be travelling to The Gambia in August to work with the Mango Growers Cooperative there.
The organisers expect a lively debate. Admission is free and there will be a retiring collection. The meeting will start at 6.30pm