Fairtrade Foundation expresses concerns over UK financial turmoil impacting on key farming communities

The Fairtrade Foundation has offered a warning that in the wake of the pound hitting near all-time record low against the dollar last week that farmers in key supply chains including those within the cocoa sector, could be notably impacted, reports Neill Barston.

As the global movement noted, market volatility has the potential for adversely affecting already hard-hit farming communities serving a number of industries – with confectionery and chocolate trades being among those equally challenged by uncertain conditions.

With Sterling remaining weak, the Fairtrade Foundation is concerned that the sharp currency devaluation will ‘set back’ efforts to intensify action on the climate crisis, human rights and decent pay for farmers and workers who produce food for UK markets.

Commenting, the Head of Policy at the Fairtrade Foundation, Tim Aldred, said: “The dramatic fall in the pound means more bad news for Fairtrade farmers and consumers. Additional exchange rate costs will land on fragile supply chains already struggling from the global cost of living crisis.

“Around 10-15 percent of the UK’s food comes from Africa, Asia and South America, including key products such as bananas and coffee. But many of these farmers and workers live in ‘in work poverty’, earning well below a living wage. The cost of living crisis provoked by war in Ukraine, climate damage and the continuing impact of the pandemic were already placing additional pressure on farmers.”

Mr Aldred continued: “If the end market does not absorb this new exchange rate hike, costs could be passed on to consumers or farmers. While Fairtrade farmers are protected from the worst effects through commitments to Fairtrade Minimum Price and Fairtrade Premium, they will still be hit by the overall market trend. Efforts to accelerate action towards living wages and living incomes, and to address human rights and climate challenges, will be set back.”

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