Cut price milk? Hardly Fair Trade: Kathleen Calvert, 2011
Clitheroe Advertiser Thu Sep 23 2011:
It is frighteningly easy to be complacent about your future food supply when you have plenty.
The generation who lived through the Second World War value their food supply far more than those who have grown up with a plentiful supply, having experienced the effects of a sudden serious shortage of food.
Without its own internal food supply and with a rising world population, the UK leaves itself wide open to serious food shortages and serious price hikes in future. We may value a holiday, mobile phone, Sky TV or new clothes; we cannot, however, survive without food.
We hear a lot about Fair Trade, but when supermarkets offer cut-price milk, British farmers bear the cost of this because of the imbalance of power. Currently most farmers are paid less than the cost of production for their milk and are losing money needed to keep their businesses going while retailers and processors continue to post healthy profits in a difficult economic climate. Hardly Fair Trade and this is putting our future food supplies in danger.
With high business turnovers due to everyday operating needs, each working dairy farm will always return a huge amount of money back into the wider economy, supporting many other businesses, especially in rural areas, and therefore helping provide jobs for many people. This very important function of British dairy farming is always overlooked.
Each dairy farm that ceases to trade has a knock-on effect on the surrounding community and the economy due to a loss of income to many other often small businesses. The imbalance of power in the supply chain is blatantly apparent now Tesco’s October milk price increase has been set at 1.228p a litre, with a policy only to review the price every six months.
Kathleen Calvert, Paythorne, Clitheroe, Lancashire.