Riverford farmers group have called on the bigest supermarkets in the UK to ensure fair terms for the farmers that provide fruits and vegetables for their outlets.
In a letter to the chief executives of the UK’s ‘Big Six’ Supermarkets, Guy Singh-Watson the founder of Riverford, claims that almost half of fruit and vegetable farmers fear that they will go out of business over the next 12 months. He states that the behaviour of supermarkets is a significant factor in driving this uncertainty, in a context in which supermarkets are reporting record profits.
He says that these supermarkets’ way of doing business is often unfair and represents a short-termist and wasteful approach that denies farmers certainty. He mentions the fact that farmers often have to face harvests being rejected at the last minute if produce becomes available cheaper from elsewhere and even as a result of the whims of buyers.
This results in produce being wasted and the industry being weakened to the extent that there is now a significant threat to farmers that cannot afford to not be paid for their labour. He states that over two thirds (69%) of farmers that grow fruit and veg believe that there should be more regulation to redress the power imbalance that exists between farmers and supermarkets.
Riverford have launched a petition calling on the 6 biggest supermarkets in the UK to keep to five key pledges to ensure fairness to food producers. They call on the supermarkets to ensure:
- That farmers get paid what was agreed with supermarkets.
- That supermarkets buy from farmers that which was agreed upon.
- That supermarkets agree to ensuring fair specifications for farmers’ produce.
- That supermarkets agree to long-term agreements with farmers.
- That supermarkets agree to ensure payments to farmers are made on time.
You can learn more about the campaign and Riverford’s demands by visiting their website.