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Farmers say industry ‘on its knees’ as they call for supermarkets to be fairer when buying produce | UK News

Parliament will debate a petition in January calling for tougher laws to ensure supermarkets act fairly when buying produce from British farmers – with claims the industry is “on its knees”.

The Get Fair About Farming campaign has received more than 100,000 signatures – with a debate in the Commons scheduled for 22 January.

It wants an amendment made to the Grocery Supply Code of Conduct to require retailers to “buy what they agreed to buy, pay what they agreed to pay and pay on time”.

The petition was created by the founder of Riverford Organic Farmers, Guy Singh-Watson.

“Supermarkets sell over 90% of the vegetables that farmers produce. There are six major buyers. There are 10s of thousands of producers [and] when they sit down every year to negotiate the prices farmers are driven down, actually below their cost of production,” he told Sky News.

Research by the campaign says 49% of British fruit and veg farmers fear they will go out of business within the next 12 months, with 75% reporting that supermarket behaviour is a leading factor: “It’s just knocking the lifeblood out of British culture.

“We have an industry that is on its knees. Farmers don’t have the confidence to invest. They have no faith in the length of their relationship with their major buyers. You know, I think it’s a disaster environmentally, socially and commercially.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says it is “committed to tackling contractual unfairness that can exist in the agri-food supply chain”.

Get Fair About Farming wants retailers to sign up to a new Farmer’s Charter, which includes promises to:

• Buy what you committed to buy
• Pay on time
• Commit for the long term
• Agree on fair specifications
• Pay what you agreed to pay

Fruit and veg in supermarkets

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This notice was published: 2023-12-28 14:24:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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