THIS is Fairtrade Fortnight. Many years ago, when I worked for Oxfam, I was involved in the first of these. In those days it was an uphill struggle to get anyone to take Fair Trade seriously, but times have changed.

The idea products such as the food and clothes we buy should guarantee that producers, often in the poorest countries, are paid a fair return and not exploited has taken hold. All of our supermarkets feature Fairtrade goods. East Lothian is a Fairtrade County and Scotland a Fairtrade Country.

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to meet Lousi Albadawi from the Oasis Centre in Palestine, which provides employment for people with disabilities who produce craft work traded through the Fairtrade Network.

Lousi was visiting the coffee morning organised by North Berwick’s Fairtrade group, and spoke of the difficulties of daily life for the people of Palestine.

Making food production work for producers as well as consumers is not just an international issue, but a local one too. Food and drink is one of our county’s most important industries. We can be very proud of the incredible range and quality of our food production, from farming to distilling gin and making chocolate.

Local producers are constantly working hard on new products and new ways to promote them, from farmers’ markets to the food assembly, to Scotland’s first food and drink Business Improvement District. There are links to Fair Trade too – for example, The Chocolate Tree in Haddington makes great chocolate, but also works really hard with its cocoa suppliers to ensure they get a fair deal too.

I think it is about time the rest of Scotland realises just how great the county is for food and drink, so this week I will be hosting an East Lothian showcase in Holyrood, with free samples. You can’t say fairer than that!