GRAIN ASSURANCE schemes put UK producers ahead of other countries when it comes to overseas exports, seminar delegates have heard.

The advantages of UK assured grain were highlighted to buyers from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Holland and Greece at a Home-Grown Cereals Authority seminar in London this week (w/c Dec 13).

“UK assurance schemes give our grain an advantage, as the buyer can be sure that the grain has been independently inspected,” said Tony Pexton, a farmer and chairman of the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme (ACCS).

This view was shared by Claudia Torres from the Portuguese milling company, Milaneza.

“It is increasingly important to our customers that the grain we buy is assured and the UK is ahead of the game,” she said.

Food scares and the Food Act were the main drivers behind UK assurance schemes, Mr Pexton said, pointing out that their success was down to getting the right protocols in place and building trust in UK grain.

“These protocols have now been in place for several years and independent inspections test the production processes on the farm, as well as grain storage,” he said.

Inspections for safety, insurance, cleanliness, storage and transportation are all covered by the Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops, added Martin Jowett, involved with the certification process.