29 May 1998

Fair deal system relevant to UK

THE system developed by aid agencies to get a fair deal for small farmers and workers in third world countries is pertinent to Britain, believes Phil Cookson, communications co-ordinator for Farmers World.

Speaking at the Devon County Show Mr Cookson said that the Fair Trade system had been developed so that farmers and workers got guaranteed minimum prices or rates of pay and that social aspects such as schools, hospitals and union rights were included.

Farmers had been helped to form producing and marketing co-ops so that they had more control and to ensure the supply chain worked fairly.

The scheme was independently monitored and approved products carried the Fair Trade mark. That allowed shoppers to preferentially buy Fair Trade products thus providing an incentive for companies and shops to work with scheme members. Something similar could be done in Britain, Mr Cookson said. &#42