Fair trade French milk sells 11m litres in 7 months

A FAIR trade scheme for French milk has proved a success, helping farmers make a proper living from their work with 11 million litres of milk sold since November last year.

One of the dairy farmers told France 2: “They’ve saved our lives. We aren’t working for nothing any more.”

In the stores the ‘C’est qui le patron?’ (Who’s the boss?) milk cartons are stamped ‘the producer of this milk is paid a fair price’.

The organisers of the scheme says it costs about eight centimes more per litre which means the producers can be paid €390/1000l whereas they say they had been receiving around €200/1000l before the launch. It is also produced in small-scale farms using traditional methods. The price was set by consulting consumers as to how much they were willing to pay. 

The ‘C’est qui le patron?’ (Who’s the boss?) milk was launched by activists who also created the association opposed to food waste Les Gueules Cassées, together with some 50 small milk producers in the Bresse area in eastern France and the Carrefour supermarket chain. It is run as a collective called La Marque du Consommateur 

Collective president Martial Darbon told France 2 : “We were heading for ruin in an atmosphere of total indifference. Among my neighbours, 51 farms were about to go bankrupt.

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“The basic idea, as consumers, is to realise that it just takes a few extra centimes to enable a producer to live from their work. And as far as we’re concerned, we’re ready to pay up.”

You can find the milk at some 8,000 stores including Carrefour, Auchan, Intermarché and Colruyt (a Belgian-owned chain with branches in the east and north of France). It will shortly be available in Casino, LIDL and Cora and discussions are under way with other chains.

La Marque du Consommateur is now branching out into other areas with pizza and apple juice launched and an organic butter and an apple compote planned.

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