Fair trade should start at home – I first suggested a fair trade scheme for milk in 2012.
I am a proud supporter of the Farmers for Action and National Farmers Union (NFU) campaigns to highlight the reduction in milk prices paid to farmers. As the local MP I want to investigate a 'Fairtrade milk scheme' for our dairy farmers.
I went along to meet the 1,100 local farmers at blockades of Robert Wiseman’s distribution centre in Bridgwater to show my support for dairy farmers in my patch. I pointed out that The Fairtrade Foundation currently works to support farmers in the developing world to ensure that producers in those countries get a fair price for their products, but there is clearly a need to do exactly the same ‘at home’ in the UK.
The Foundation issues Fairtrade Marks which can be displayed on products which indicate they have been certified by the Foundation where the producers get a fair deal. The Fairtrade Mark does not currently apply to UK farmers but Tessa is keen that a version of it should. She has written to the Fairtrade Foundation about this.
Tessa said: “I have spoken previously about how vitally important it is to keep dairy farming alive and to make sure our farmers get a fair price for their products. As a nation, we should concentrate on food security and be able to feed ourselves. I really believe a Fairtrade milk scheme would be an effective way to ensure that the farmers are protected. The consumer would know at a glance that he or she is supporting British farming when shopping for milk or milk products.
I have raised this with the Farming Minister and plan to haul the Fairtrade into Parliament to explain why they can't establish a UK fair-trade mark for our farmers and producers.