As a believer in Fairtrade trademark certification and the power of the consumer to reduce poverty in the third world by their demand for fairly traded products, I wrote this piece for my local Fairtrade group.
Fairtrade had always been conceived as assistance for those in third world countries that could not get a fair price for produce. It was because they were small, powerless and at the mercy of middlemen in markets which drove down prices.
There has always been a tension in this country, because sometimes markets do not work here in the UK as well.
In order to raise awareness of Fairtrade, the idea of Fairtrade towns was conceived and the first was Garstang in Lancashire.
But what people forget is that at the very point of creating a Fairtrade town, those who were campaigning for fair trade were acutely aware of local farmers campaigning for a fair price for their milk in Garstang. That was in 2001. [history]
14 years later and we should be conscious again that Fairtrade means being fair in commerce and business. Fairtrade is not in conflict with paying a fair price for milk in the UK.
People who support Fairtrade support fair prices in markets and that includes milk here. But remember, that without a fair price for many products, the consequences, while severe in the UK, are Life threatening in third world countries for those that would qualify for the Fairtrade mark.