The Government is to double its support for fair-trade and ethical development initiatives in Central America, it emerged today.
Minister of State for Development and Human Rights Conor Lenihan announced that aid to Central American countries would be increased to at least $6m (€5.1m) over the next three years.
On a visit to Nicaragua, Mr Lenihan joined President Enrique Bolanos at the opening of an Irish aid-supported new sesame-seed processing plant for cooperative farmers.
“The Irish Government is committed to continuing its cooperation with Nicaragua and with the wider region,” he said.
“In particular, in 2006 our contribution to the development of ethical and fair-trade initiatives in Nicaragua and Central America will double.
“Our cooperation with Nicaragua, both bilaterally and through Irish NGOs, increased each year over the last three years.
“This growth will continue, amounting to at least $6m (€5.1m) over the next three-year period. I am sending a high-level team from my Department on a mission here in the first quarter of 2006 to see how we can further develop our engagement with Nicaragua and the region.”
The minister travelled to Nicaragua to promote development through fair and ethical trading.
During the visit, he met with coffee growers who will receive a better price for their coffee because of fair trade with Ireland and the commitment of companies like Bewley’s, which have developed ethical trade links with local farmers.
Irish Government support of the Del Campo Sesame Seed Federation (€187,000 from 2003 to 2006) has increased its capacity to develop its business, support clients, and further improve the situation of Nicaraguan farmers.