In Scotland, the church, the union and the minister back a fair deal for food producers

For some years the Church of Scotland has been examining issues relating to international trade justice, justice for Scottish producers and fairness to consumers. 

Its Church and Society programme launched a report “Fair Trade in Food”, calling for a fair trade label for Scottish agricultural produce to ensure a more equitable share of margins in the food chain. Professor David Atkinson, a former vice-principal of the Scottish Agricultural College issued a challenge to the Scottish Executive to come up with a fair trade label scheme for farmers in this country.  

The report found: 

  • The current distribution of resources within the food supply chain is out of balance with effort and risk.
  • The food supply chain represents a very real market failure.
  • There is need to increase the bargaining power of primary producers if they are to survive.
  • The power of the multiples and the detached attitude of Government seem likely to result in an increasing proportion of UK consumption being sourced from outwith the UK.
  • A FairTrade label for Scottish produce 

“A FairTrade label for Scottish produce, which permitted consumers to see where a fair price had been paid, would be of significant value and should be explored as a real initiative by government.” 

The National Farmers’ Union Scotland and the Scottish Fair Trade Forum promote a fair deal for food producers 

Stackyard news reported that the National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) and the Scottish Fair Trade Forum (SFTF) came together to promote their desire fora fair deal for food producers, whether in Scotland or in the developing world. They share a goal of ensuring producers are paid a fair price for their goods, allowing them to operate sustainably, regardless of where in the world they farm.” 

Scotland hopes to become one of the world’s first Fair Trade Nations

John McAllion, Chair of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, added: “Scotland currently has a campaign to become one of the world’s first Fair Trade Nations, led by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum. While working to achieve a set of criteria to make that happen, our greater aim is to embed a commitment to fairness at all levels of Scottish society. 

“There need be no conflict between buying Fairtrade and buying local produce. Buy local meat, potatoes and dairy products to support your local economy and buy quality Fairtrade coffee, tea and other products that can’t be grown locally to help Fairtrade producers in the developing world get a fair deal. 

Richard Lochhead: Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs recognises that:

”There is mounting pressure for the principle and practice of fair trade to be extended to food producers in this country. The Scottish Government will do all we can to support fair trade for Scotland’s farmers.

Retailers need consumers to survive but they need suppliers as well. If farmers disappear from the land, the food chain will break. It is as simple as that.

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