I was going to post just this, because I feel concerned at the increasingly desperate voice of dairy farmers who are now threatening to pour away their milk because they are making a loss all the time:
However, the sceptical comments about what this seems to be saying, on Facebook, and the fact that it appears simplistic, made me want to know a little more.
I was surprised to discover that my dear ole C of E published a report as long ago as 2007 called ‘Fairtrade begins at home – Supermarkets and the effect on
British farming livelihoods’.
Here’s part of their conclusion:
‘Many farmers are producing
goods below cost, which
ultimately results in an
unsustainable business, evident
by the number of farmers going
out of business. This is the reason
for the title of this report Fairtrade
begins at home.
There were examples of good
practices from supermarkets,
however ultimately the big four
have such a monopoly over the
food chain that they are able
to squeeze farmers indirectly
through the squeezing of the
middlemen. The margins they are
able to demonstrate are often,
and inevitably, at the expense of
Consumers do not appear to
be aware of the full extent of
the supermarkets monopoly
and power. Through their
major marketing machines, the
supermarkets operate very effective
branding and PR which appears to
us to obscure this reality.
In conclusion, farmers are not
asking for special treatment but
there is inequality and dysfunction
within the supply chain requiring
attention. It is evident that this
chain does not operate in a
truly free market, but one that is
dominated by a few large players
that are able to exert exponential
pressure in the imbalance of
power. Without a change to this
imbalance, the UK agriculture
industry will diminish with
profound implications for all.
You can read the full report here: http://www.churchofengland.org/media/36540/fairtrade.pdf
I think they make a very valid point. I am a supporter of Fair Trade, but we clearly need it for this country too.