Kenyan tea producer Patrick Kaberia Muthaura was guest of honour at Luton Fairtrade Fortnight.
He inspired a packed audience at an event organised by the Fairtrade Steering Group by telling them that paying a little extra for products enabled farmers to live their lives with dignity and pride.
He added: “We do not want your charity or aid.
“We want you to support our business, so that we can help ourselves. We want you to trade fairly, which does justice to our labour and produce and does not exploit it.”
He also raised concerns about climate change and how we can encourage young people to become farmers.
The slogan for this year’s event was ‘Don’t feed exploitation. Choose Fairtrade - because farmers deserve a fair deal.’
The council chamber was packed to capacity with people of different faiths, ages and backgrounds, including 25 pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic and Ramridge Primary Schools.
Portfoloio holder Cllr Jacqueline Burnett expressed the local authority’s strong commitment to promoting and supporting Fairtrade now and in the future.