FUW-Fair Trade Forum Alliance

The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) and the Wales Fair Trade Forum (WFTF) have teamed up to promote fair prices for food producers in Wales and throughout the developing world.

Speaking at a joint FUW-WFTF press conference at the 2008 Royal Welsh Winter Fair, FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "In June, Wales was officially declared the first ever Fair Trade Nation, and that is something we should all be proud of.

"However, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what needs to be done to ensure all producers are paid a fair price for their goods, allowing them to operate sustainably, regardless of where in the world they farm."

The FUW and WFTF are supporting the key message: "If you can't buy local produce, buy Fair Trade produce".

"This is an important message for farming families and the wider general public. We should all think before we buy," said Mr Vaughan.

"A farmer who wants a fair price for his lambs in the market should also want a fair price for coffee farmers in other countries. The two principles should go hand in hand."

Wales Fair Trade Forum board member Becky Webb said: "Wales being made the world's first Fair Trade Nation was the result of a campaign led by the Wales Fair Trade Forum and supported by the Welsh Assembly Government.

"We are now working to build upon that success, through an educational and awareness raising campaign, to support the creation of a bigger market for Fairtrade branded products, and to promote the general principles of fair trade in a world where unfair trading relationships are all too common - especially for smaller, local producers.

"Following this principle, we can all recognise ways of supporting small scale producers - whether in underdeveloped countries of the third world, or right here in Wales.

"There need be no conflict between buying Fairtrade and buying local produce. Buy local meat, dairy, and other products to support your local economy, and buy quality Fairtrade coffee, tea, fruit and other products that can't be grown locally to help Fairtrade producers in the developing world get a fair deal. "In tough economic times like these, buying local and Fairtrade goods is a sure way to get quality products, at a fair price, while knowing that you are also supporting sustainable community and environmental development that impacts on all of us positively in the long-run."

In July 2007 the FUW launched its "Buy the Welsh One" campaign, targeted at promoting local procurement. It was revealed that a large number of FUW members and supporters were producing their own food and drink products.

"There is a growing number of farm-produced quality products now available at farmers' markets, corner shops, on the Internet and even at some supermarkets," said Mr Vaughan. "But, sadly, the consumer may have to search painstakingly for such products in supermarkets although I know there is a growing awareness amongst these huge companies that they are morally bound to offer local products."

According to Defra figures released in 2008, UK food self sufficiency fell in 2007 to 60 per cent, while 25 per cent of food purchased is imported when it could be produced in the UK. In a joint statement, the FUW and WFTF state: "Buying locally produced goods supports your local farmers and the economy.

"It means you reconnect with the source of your food and will eat food when it's in season. It helps to keep down food miles and this also means that food will be fresher and healthier.

"The vast majority of Fairtrade products can't be produced in this country, so when doing your weekly shop buy locally where possible and when buying imported goods like tea and coffee, buy Fair Trade.

"By buying both locally grown and Fair Trade products consumers are choosing to give farmers a fair deal wherever they are." Mr Vaughan added: "We are now entering the season of goodwill. That goodwill should extend to producers around the globe 365 days a year."