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Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made and representations she has received regarding the application of Fairtrade status to British farmers; and if she will make a statement. [102441]

We have seen a report that the Soil Association and the Fairtrade Foundation were planning to announce an extension of the Fairtrade mark to British produce but I am unaware of any representations to government on this matter. For its part the Government are striving to rid agriculture of the constraints of price protection and production-related subsidies and to reconnect farmers with their markets. The Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food launched last December aims to help deliver this objective and sets out how Government, industry and others can work together to secure a more positive future for the food and farming industries. It contains a number of measures to help farmers reconnect with their customers and the rest of the food chain, to improve co-operation and performance, and to enhance training and opportunities to learn from best practice. The Government also remain determined to secure market-oriented reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy and through the WTO.