Thursday, 7 October 2010

Fair Trade for British Farmers

image borrowed from the web
We were watching one of our new favourite programmes yesterday, 'Food - What goes in Your Basket?' on it they look at lots of aspects of food production, cooking, storage times....well everything about food really.
A section yesterday was given to milk production in this country and in an interview with a busy farmer. It came out that he loses 3p on every litre of milk he produces....WHAT!! The supermarket (the seller) makes it's profit, the consumer gets cheap milk and the person that works all the hours that farmers work to milk cows makes a loss!! Is that fair.
The next item that came on was about bananas, produced in St Lucia by some lovely, also hardworking farmers, but they are paid enough money to be able to send their children to school, look after their families properly and generally just improve themselves and their lives. In short they are paid the value of their product.
Now I used to work for Oxfam and I am wholeheartedly, one hundred percent behind Fairtrade, I was a Shop Manager in the shops when the first products were launched, I was one of the ones that explained to customers why the coffee and the chocolate bars cost a few pennies more, and mostly people on hearing why, dug that little bit deeper into their pockets and paid the difference happily.
Lovely Hubby at the end of last nights programme looked at me and said "Why don't British farmers deserve Fairtrade?"
Do you have an answer?
Sue xx


  1. No, but it's a blooming good question Sue. I didn't see the programme as I spent the evening sulking because I thought Hugh was on. Got it wrong again!! It's tonight isn't it...sigh x

  2. I think most of us are guilty of allowing the supermarkets to dictate to us, whether we are suppliers or purchasers. The chickens are certainly coming home to roost now, so to speak, giving us very little choice of where we shop. I haven't seen a milkman in years and we only have one butcher and one greengrocer left in our town, both of which I now use on a regular basis. No, it is not fair!

    Such excitement yesterday - I got my very first egg.
    Jak x

  3. Not fair at all !
    Did you see on the news about the condition of the hens at the HAPPY EGGS company ? Shocking.

  4. You're so right Sue, British farmers do deserve 'FAIR TRADE" too. Having grown up in a farming community with my Dad milking 400 cows twice each day for 52 years (!!) I'm only too aware of how much hard work goes into producing our "cheap" milk. Of course, the way things are going, there will be very few smaller farms over the next decade or so, and the country will be importing more and more milk from Europe.
    But, don't you find, it's the same with all aspects of British industry - society wants everything cheap as possible and so in time we lose our own industries and import everything. I'm all for looking after our own before helping elsewhere - charity begins at home, doesn't it?
    Great post - thanks for reminding us!
    Denise x

  5. Reading a great book about supermarkets at the moment, called "Shopped" A great incentive to stay away from supermarkets and try and get as much food direct from source as possible. I think that is as close as we can get at the moment.

    And as for the milk industry, have you heard about this "super-dairy" that is planned in Lincs? 8,000 dairy cattle kept indoors, in order to give us more "cheap milk". Grrrrr!

    Can you tell I get rather passionate about this! ;)

  6. Excellent post Sue, and one close to my heart as my son is hoping to start agricultural college soon,he's dream is to go into farming whilst I'm so happy for him my tummy does a flip, we've let Tesco’s etc takeover, and really for what? cheap tasteless and often inferior produce and of poorer quality and sometimes not even cheaper, eye candy stores I call them, so my response is not visit the above or Primark, etc (oh dear) we as a nation need to make do and mend, back to basic’s be grateful for what we have and not what we want, I still have my milkman and will continue to do so out of principle last woman standing so to speak. Stories like this make me want to cry in anger, let’s hope it’s not too late.
    Fairtrade should mean for all

    Lynn xx

  7. It is the same here in Canada, Sue. The consumer has demanded the cheapest products available, and the supermarkets willingly supply it. Why does the garlic at the supermarket come from China (bleached and God only knows what else) when there are local producers of organic garlic?
    BECAUSE IT IS CHEAP!! We have the choice to pay the true cost of decent local food but most of us choose not to, that is if our stores ACTUALLY stock local produce. I once scoured the grocery section for items grown locally; I couldn't find things grown in Canada at all! I wasn't the only person who complained that day.
    I think this has hit a nerve with all of us, Sue.
    Jane x

  8. I'm sad to say it's the same here in Australia Sue:( I certainly would be happy to pay more to make sure our farmers were not being underpaid. Great post. Linda

  9. As A farmer's daughter and a Vet's wife I agree wholeheartedly with all the above - especially Denise! The UK is in danger of losing it's entire food production if we continue demanding cheap food at all costs

  10. I'm a farmer's daughter too and I agree totally that our UK producers deserve Fairtrade. Apparently the Co-op pay their farmers the lowest price of all the supermarkets for milk despite their partnership image.


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