Finish work, go home, put the kettle on, feet up, take a sip, ahhh! a refreshing hot beverage. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate; it’s a habit many of us have fallen into, yet our humble, innocent looking cups of elixir could actually be rather two faced.
Many of us choose fair trade in the hope that our caffeine addictions may do some good somewhere in the world but (overlooking the fairtrade debates and possible corruption) what about the British dairy farmers who’s milk we pour into our lattes? The smell of fresh coffee is now faint against the whiff of hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy not just from (unwitting) consumers but from the supermarkets who pile high the fair trade brand yet constantly push to keep costs down on home grown goods (whilst making sure their profits stay up).
British dairy farmers get a bad deal, currently losing on average approximately 3p per litre of milk, as it costs more to produce than they receive from the middlemen (see the 2011 NFU report).
To me, it all seems very messed up. Support farmers half way across the world and with the same sip of coffee, completely overlook our own farmers.
I’m not entirely sure what the answer is, more campaigning maybe? What I do know is that as consumers we have a lot of clout. We need to question everything we want to consume and if something isn’t right it’s up to us to change it. In the end, when it comes to fair trade, it’s a good idea in theory but fairness starts at home and that includes buying British produce before any of the foreign imported stuff; like that spoonful of sugar in that coffee; they grow that stuff over here y’know.
I’d really like to hear other people’s views on the whole fair trade brand, British dairy farming and the global food market. Get in touch folks!
…and on a side note, although I want a fairer deal for British farmers i’m also concerned for animal’s welfare, including that of dairy cows. Indoor ‘zero grazing’ is on the rise among dairy cattle. Compassion in World Farming are currently running a poll to see where we’d prefer our milk to come from;
It only takes a few seconds to cast your vote.