The NFU in the North East has welcomed the news that Yorkshire-based supermarket Morrisons has signed-up to the Back British Farming Charter.
Regional Director Richard Pearson said it was only to be expected from such a longstanding supporter of British agriculture, but was still great news that the local farming community would welcome.
The Charter was launched in August after statistics showed the UK produces just 62 per cent of its own food. With research showing that 78 per cent of consumers want to see more British produce on sale, it calls on the public, politicians, retailers and the food industry to pull together and help Britain produce, source and consume more home-produced food.
As part of the campaign to achieve greater self-sufficiency, the charter is now touring the country on a mobile campaign vehicle, starting at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Monday 30 September.
From there the first stop was Morrisons headquarters at Bradford, where Group Corporate Services Director Martyn Jones signed the charter on behalf of the company.
“It really is encouraging to see our locally based supermarket pledging their support,” said Richard Pearson. “Morrisons has been a long-term supporter of UK agriculture and it is important to recognise their contributions and commitment to supporting the Red Tractor mark across their products.
“Just recently they have stepped up their commitment to British beef producers and their involvement today, signing the Back British Farming charter, is further proof of their determination to work in partnership with British farmers and growers.”
Commenting on behalf of the supermarket, Martyn Jones said: “We have always been a supporter of UK agriculture and buy a bigger proportion of the food that we sell from British farmers than any other major supermarket.
“We were therefore delighted to be able to sign up to the Back British Farming charter and fully support its goals.”
Morrisons now join a growing number of high profile supporters including chefs, politicians and community groups. The WI was an early supporter, as were Yorkshire chef James Martin and local politicians including Julian Sturdy MP.
“Our campaign highlighted the fact that if all the food produced in Britain was stored and eaten from January 1st, supplies would run out on August 14,” added Mr Pearson.
“With public backing, we are determined to change a situation where we import more than £37 billion of food and drink – much of which we could produce ourselves. We believe that together we can make a difference and that’s what our charter is designed to highlight.”
Any members of the public wanting to sign the charter can do so online here.