Fairtrade says it is time to stop pitting farmers and shoppers against each other and address the imbalance of power in supply chains
In response to the National Farmers Union (NFU)’s concern about the low prices paid to UK dairy farmers in the UK, an average of 27p per pint of milk compared with a cost of production of 30p per pint, Tim Aldred, Head of Policy & Research at Fairtrade Foundation, said:
"The NFU’s concern about low prices being paid to dairy farmers in the UK, parallels Fairtrade’s concern about low prices being paid to farmers in the developing world who grow bananas, cocoa, coffee and other commodities we consume on a daily basis. Paying farmers less than it costs to produce their goods is not sustainable, and could ultimately mean the foods we enjoy become significantly less affordable.
“But paying farmers a fair price doesn’t always have to mean that shoppers pay more at the till. A recent Fair Trade report on the imbalance of power in agricultural supply chains highlights others in the supply chain – traders, manufacturers and retailers – who wield a huge amount of power and currently take the lion’s share of value. In cocoa, for example, retailers and manufacturers each take around 35-40% of the product’s value, leaving cocoa farmers themselves with just 5%. It’s time we stopped pitting farmers and consumers against each other, and ask instead for greater transparency in supply chains and updated competition laws, so that we can stamp out unfair trading practices in our food supply chains”.