FARMERS CAN benefit from collaborating with partners further up the supply chain, according to the chairman of a co-op supplying peas to Unilever.

Richard Hirst, chairman of Anglian Pea Growers, said members of his co-op benefited from the fact they were working with a business that had been successful for 58 years.

Because Birds Eye was an established brand, growers were still able to get a premium for their peas, he said during a Farmer Forum meeting at Smithfield Show on Sun (Dec 5). 

This meant they were still making a little bit of money from vining peas – although producers were facing massive cost increases.

Mr Hirst told FARMERS WEEKLY that he thought the way Unilever worked in partnership with its growers could be a model for other sectors.

“I think it could be a model for others as farmers are being encouraged to get more integrated with the rest of the food chain.

“With Unilever you are working with the end user right from the start.”

Sion Roberts, director of English Food and Farming Partnerships, said it was good to see evidence of a collaborative venture that was working successfully.

He added that the partnership between Unilever and Anglian Pea Growers offered the company a secure supply of produce and growers a secure outlet for their peas.