Page last updated at 08:17 GMT, Saturday, 10 October 2009 09:17 UK

Fairtrade gets 12m bumper grant

Fairtrade coffee beans
A fifth of roast and ground coffee sold in the UK is Fairtrade

Fairtrade has been given £12m of government money to mark 15 years since the organisation launched in the UK.

It is hoped that the grant will double the number of farmers helped by the scheme and treble sales of products.

Last year more than £700m was spent on Fairtrade goods in the UK, an increase of more than £200m on 2007.

It was a pioneering concept 15 years ago, offering farmers in poor countries a better price for their produce by making Western shoppers pay a bit more.

We want to make sure that we're also able to persuade other retailers to come on board and to offer Fairtrade products.
Douglas Alexander
International Development Secretary

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said the latest grant, far bigger than any previously given to the organisation, will make a big difference.

He said: ''It's going to do three things: first of all, it's going to help get a more effective Fairtrade system around the world, with stronger and direct impact from those smaller producers that benefit.

"Secondly, we want to broaden the scope of Fairtrade products beyond tea and coffee to other areas and thirdly, we want to make sure that we're also able to persuade other retailers to come on board and to offer Fairtrade products.''

He said he had met the bosses of the leading supermarkets and was "encouraged" that they would launch or broaden their Fairtrade range.

It was also important to try to replicate British success internationally, he said, because the UK Fairtrade market was the most advanced in the world.

While the British market has increased by 43% in a year, the increase globally is only 22%.



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