Reflecting on Lenten themes, one of them is bringing Justice to God’s people, and today is the first day of Fairtrade fortnight. This is when the church and its Fairtrade supporters bring to people’s attention the plight of farmers, growers and co-operatives who are striving to get a fair price for their produce.
Even though the church, and supermarkets usually focus on projects in developing countries , I would like to turn our attention to the UK.
In our land, there will be families who are struggling to get a fair price for their produce. I am mindful of the difficulty dairy farmers are in at the moment.
Milk prices have been cut by up to 30% in the last 12 months, and 2015 looks just as bleak for the dairy industry. A large milk distributer have deferred payments to farmers for two weeks , yet cows still have to be fed , children still need food on the table.
In the supermarkets, a milk price war has developed; a 2 litre bottle of milk for £1,cheap to us, but to the farmer this means a loss of income. To break even, farmers need been getting around 30 per litre, now they getting as low as 20p a litre.
The National Farmers Union has said the diary sector is suffering from ‘crippling price cuts’ and it predicts there could be fewer than 5,000 left by 2025 ( in 2002 there were approx. 10,000 dairy farmers)
Milk is driven by consumerism and by cheap imported milk, however I noted with interest that local milk is being delivered to the doorstep again. I would encourage us to consider this as a way of supporting local dairy farmers in this Country, so they get a fair price for their milk.
Yes it may be a little more expensive, but surely if we can support projects overseas for Fairtrade, then we must also support industries nearer to home.
We need not look to developing countires to encourage Fairtrade, as God sees, hears and feels injustice in this country as well as far off lands.
God in whom we live and move and have our being,
On this day we are mindful of people who are
Financially abused at the hands of others.
We pray for
Wisdom within meetings
Insight within negotiating
Compassion within conversation
So that Justice will flow like a never ending stream.