Why shouldn’t the Fairtrade principle be applied to all food producers? B. Panvel
Published in the Co-operative News: December 2010
On December 1st, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, Daniel Kawczynski, asked about the progress being made with a regulator for supermarkets. David Cameron replied that there have been many complaints from farmers about the aggressive behaviour of supermarkets. He added that farmers must get a fair deal for the food they produce.
Could the co-operative movement extend its support to fair trade for British suppliers? Why shouldn’t the principle be applied to all food producers?
Earlier reports indicated that the Co-op Group did not support the introduction of an adjudicator, but at least – if it has nothing to hide – it could show that its farmgate prices cover production costs.
The Wyre and Fylde local authorities are sympathetic to this idea and the Cumbria Fair Trade Network is planning a conference which will examine the parallels, similarities and differences between the situation of small farmers in developing countries [those who can access Fairtrade markets and those cannot yet] and farmers in Cumbria.
The alternative, as farmers leave the land in droves, is a continued decline in rural areas and further development of agro-industry as smaller farms are sold – with the organic sector surviving for those who can afford its products.
Those who would like to know more about the subject can read about the Fair Deal Food Council online.