NFU Scotland has launched the potato ‘arm’ of its
Fair Trade campaign which is aimed at highlighting to consumers
the inequality in the supply chain and the small share of the consumer
price that farmers receive.
In full swing at Perth Show on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 August,
the campaign involved a large display highlighting, in simple terms,
the imbalance in margins. The display shows the fact that supermarkets
sell potatoes for £1.80 per kilo while the farmers at the
bottom of the supply chain receive only 17 pence for the same quantity.
NFUS staff and members spoke to show visitors highlighting the
quality of Scottish farm produce and asking them to put their name
to the fair price campaign for Scotland’s farms.
There is ongoing concern over the way in which the big supermarkets
treat their suppliers, so over recent months, NFUS has been reminding
individual shoppers that they can come to the aid of Scotland’s
farming families. By urging their own supermarket to ensure its
warm words of support for agriculture are translated into meaningful
action, shoppers can contribute to the sustainability of farming
and in turn secure their own supply of quality local food.
Bob Howat, NFUS Vice-President, who joined members in speaking
to the public at the show, said:
“Perth Show is a showcase for local agriculture and an opportunity
for the farming industry to highlight to the public that we are
producing some of the finest food and drink in the world. Potatoes
are grown extensively in this region and, whilst prices do fluctuate
from year to year, it is essential to highlight the fact that local
farmers are not getting an easy ride and are suffering, like their
colleagues in other sectors of farming, from poor margins.
“To date, our campaign has focused primarily on the dairy
sector but we mustn’t forget those working just as hard,
and often for just as little reward, within all other areas of
farming. This campaign isn’t just about milk or potatoes,
it’s about the many thousand of farmers throughout Scotland
who are producing top quality food while at the same time helping
to sustain entire rural communities but who are getting little
reward for their efforts. In the long-term, this is unsustainable.
“We have four million potential customers for our produce
in Scotland alone, so opportunities like Perth Show must be grasped
to tell people of the food quality, environmental and animal welfare
benefits of buying local.
“As part of the NFUS campaign to ensure fair treatment and
prices for farmers, we are enlisting the public’s help. We
know the main reason that supermarkets have flourished is down
to their ability to react to consumer demand. Therefore the message
consumers can deliver to their own supermarket about fair trade
for Scottish farmers can be hugely influential. Supermarkets have
a responsibility to pay prices which ensure everyone in the food
chain can make a living and to give their consumers what they are
“Our message for the public is clear; if you want quality
food, buy local and if you want it in future, tell your supermarket
to pay fair prices.”
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