Prince supports fair trade scheme

Jan 4 2003

The Western Mail - The National Newspaper Of Wales


THE Prince of Wales yesterday gave his support to a pilot scheme which combines fair trade and organic farming standards.

Charles told the Soil Association annual conference at Cirencester in Gloucestershire, via a video message, that the fair trade theme could be a "major influence in encour-aging exactly the kind of farming systems we need to see in the 21st Century".

These were "based on valuing the freshness, vitality and distinctiveness, of locally and regionally produced foods and on injecting greater substance into the relationship between farmers and those who depend on them for their sustenance."

Under the scheme, launched by the organic farmers' group and the Fairtrade Foundation, the price paid to farmers must cover the sustainable cost of production, with a margin for profit and investment.

The Prince said he was most encouraged to hear about the scheme which makes a new organic certification available to UK producers for the first time.

He added, "It seems to me that this initiative, if it is taken up in the market place, could quite literally transform some of the current trading relationships, which so often seem to take place in a climate of fear and mistrust, rather than transparency and openness.

"Of course, the same principles should also apply to non-organic producers - it could be one of the salvations for the small family farm, which we need to defend at all costs.

"But with this scheme organic consumers, at least, will be able to have confidence that the farmers who produce their food are getting a fair deal. This will be a real step forward."