Farmers are not receiving enough of the profits from Fairtrade, a senior executive at discount wholesaler Costco UK has claimed.

"Fairtrade is a good thing, but some suppliers are making bigger margins than they should," Costco assistant general merchandising manager Russell Shaw told delegatees at this week's Scottish Wholesale Association annual conference in Dunblane.

The Fairtrade Foundation was quick to defend suppliers. "The key thing with Fairtrade products is that they carry a minimum price which guarantees a minimum payment to the producer," said Mark Varney, commercial manager of the Fairtrade Foundation. "Yes, some Fairtrade store prices are slightly higher than conventional products, but some are lower as well. This is part of the competitive market mechanism."