18.01.2019

International Green Week 2019: fair products for better prospects

Producing fairly, but how? A special display at International Green Week put on by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development provides insight into sustainable supply chains.

Take-away food, an interactive quiz and examples of projects from all over the world: this is how the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is showcasing itself at International Green Week at a stand shared with the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Under the aegis of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the focus is on fair trade – especially in Africa.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller emphasises, ‘All too often, our prosperity still comes at the expense of people in developing countries. Coffee, cocoa, the cotton in our shirts or metals in our electronic devices – many everyday products are made in intolerable conditions or using exploitative child labour. It’s also a wake-up call for consumers: buy carefully. When you take your first bite of chocolate, you should be aware whether children have had to graft in West African cocoa plantations to make it.’

Visitors to the GIZ stand can learn about the work of the Green Innovation Centres. With them, GIZ is helping to improve food security for local people in 15 countries on behalf of BMZ. Thanks to drought-resistant seed, safe storage for crops and modern marketing techniques, smallholders are producing higher yields and making more profit. The Centres’ main objective is to improve the agricultural and food industry, focusing on staples such as rice and maize, but also on exports such as cocoa and mangoes.

‘The work of the Green Innovation Centres shows that more can be achieved if several actors cooperate and innovative methods are adapted locally’ says Tanja Gönner, Chair of GIZ’s Management Board. ‘Together with our partners and commissioning parties, we at GIZ have already achieved a great deal with this project and many others: working together, we succeeded in alleviating hunger and malnutrition for around 11.8 million people in Africa between 2015 and 2017 alone. In addition, some 14.5 million people in rural areas now have higher income thanks to our support.’

This year, International Green Week is taking place for the 84th time. From 18 to 27 January, over 1,700 German and international exhibitors will be showcasing more than 100,000 products from the food, agricultural and horticultural sectors. There will also be around 300 industry events providing information on the hottest topics in agricultural policy. Finland is the partner country for International Green Week 2019.