Garstang and New Koforidua Community Link
Oxfam's 1999 annual Fast held in November ran on the theme "Give it up for Ghana" promoting Fairtrade by focusing on cocoa farmers in Ghana. The Garstang Oxfam Group (GOG) took part in this and worked with Garstang High School on the subject of chocolate. Particular emphasis was put on Kuapa Kokoo (Ghanaian for 'good cocoa farmer') the cocoa farming cooperative in Ghana that have part ownership of the Divine chocolate company who produce the Fairtrade Marked chocolate range Divine and children's Dubble bars.
The Garstang Fairtrade campaign led to the formation of many links between Garstang and Ghana. These links culminated in a twin town relationship between Garstang and the cocoa farming community of New Koforidua that lies 40km from Kumasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana. GOG also worked with the local Youth Club and Garstang High School on the Go Global Fairtrade / Slave Trade project. Central to the project was a visit to Ghana by a group of young people in the summer of 2001. The fair trade campaign has also brought together the problems faced by farmers in Ghana with those faced by UK farmers also struggling to get a fair price for their produce.
Garstang’s Fairtrade Town status is now maintained by the Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group (GFTSG). The Garstang And New Koforidua Linking Association (GANKLA) together with the New Koforidua and Garstang Linking Association (NKGaLA) oversee the North-South link. GOG, GFTSG, GANKLA and NKGaLA all share the belief that bringing people together in this way can help us to understand and share in each others problems. As the coffee producer Guillermo said, while visiting the UK during Fairtrade Fortnight 2002 “if we can look one another in the eyes we can understand each others' needs”.