Back in December 2011, I put a post on the Free Range Dairy website about the continuing growth of ethical food brands during the economic downturn. This was linked to a report in The Independent, which stated that Fairtrade food sales rose by 36 percent in 2009-10. Much of the recent campaign by UK milk producers has been about getting a ‘fair deal’ and I firmly believe we need a fairer distribution of the margins in the milk supply chain. But, is the FAIRTRADE mark what milk producers really need?
In a blog on the Fairtrade Foundation website in July of this year, Director of Policy and Communications, Barbara Crowther, explained that both the Fairtrade foundation and the FAIRTRADE mark were established by development organisations to win market access on fair terms, for small farmers and workers from some of the poorest countries in the world. Farmers living in absolute poverty, who if they don’t get a fair price, have no social safety nets on offer. However, she made it clear that whilst the Fairtrade foundation supports UK dairy farmers, they will not award our milk the FAIRTRADE mark.
The FAIRTRADE mark that appears on coffee, chocolate and cotton is all about providing a better deal for those producing the goods – similar to what we need to achieve for farmers here. Free Range Dairy has, from the outset, been about meeting the needs of farmers, cows and consumers and its core values remain:
- Profit for farmers
- Freedom for cows
- Value for consumers
But, milk is not like coffee, cocoa, cotton – it’s produced by cows and we need to establish a label that ensures a fair deal for them as well as ourselves. Giving cows the freedom to graze grass and do what comes naturally is key to delivering this. Please help us to promote a better understanding of the values of Free Range Dairy and create a dairy industry we can all be proud of.