Growers face battlefield in supply chain - NFU

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Serious problems continue to plague the fresh produce supply chain which may force growers to reduce the amount they produce, an NFU report being launched today will say.

NFU horticulture board chairman Guy Poskitt will unveil Catalyst Revisited, an update to the NFU’s ground-breaking Catalyst for Change report, launched three years ago, which highlighted a culture of poor practice in the fresh produce supply chain and set a blueprint for best practice. 

Mr Poskitt will say that although progress has been made against the report’s initial recommendations in 2012, growers say they face a culture of intense price pressure and competition for market share.

Ahead of his speech, Mr Poskitt said: “A lot of progress has been made since we launched Catalyst for Change three years ago; Aldi has become the first retailer to endorse the NFU’s Fruit and Veg Pledge – our charter for best practice in the supply chain; there are some encouraging signals from other retailers seeking a longer-term deal with suppliers; and the Groceries Code Adjudicator is proving effective in curbing abuses of the Grocery Supply Code of Practice.

“Yet, the job is far from done. Growers are fearful that, under intense price pressure and competition for market share, retailers are regressing to short-term thinking. All of the recommendations we made in 2012 still apply today – and are captured by our Fruit and Veg Pledge.

“The supply chain now faces a choice. Growers have the choice to grow less produce to manage their exposure to risk; retailers have the choice to do things differently, and we’d like them to choose to pledge their longer term commitment to British horticulture by signing up to the NFU’s Fruit and Veg Pledge and be part of the sector’s success as it fulfils its great, and growing, potential.”

The report highlights how:

The UK is 58% self-sufficient in vegetable production, a fall of 3.3% since 2010 and 11% self-sufficient in fruit production, a fall of 1% since 2010;

The value of field vegetable production has fallen 14% (to £885 million) since 2010; the largest drop in value occurred in the last year;

In 2013 the total area of land used for growing outdoor vegetables fell by 7,000ha;

Imports of fruit and vegetables to the UK were 18 times higher than the volume of exports in 2014; 

The value of imported produce is increasing, creating a UK trade deficit of £4.7 billion in fruit and vegetables in 2014;

Britain imported 5,790,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables in 2014. An increase of 664,000 tonnes compared to 2010. The increase alone is enough to fill almost 6000 Boeing 747-400 freight planes or 25,000 standard cargo ship container crates, which if laid end-to-end would stretch from Big Ben to Dover.

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  • Posted by: Linda BowdenPosted on: 05/11/2015 12:40:52

    Comment: Good to see Aldi supporting British farmers, not just in fruit and veg but with meat (excellent steak, chicken and sausages) and dairy as well - great store, always fresh produce, not overstocked, no deals to tempt you to buy food in excess of what you need which will go to waste, instead great prices, makes shopping a pleasure as can get nearly all required for the weekly shop very quickly - quick check-out operators too. Who needs vast ranges of products to choose from?