Man holding basket in supermarket filled with fresh produce(c) Rex

Politicians and supermarkets must step up and create a fairer and more resilient supply chain if British farmers are to cope in a more volatile world, says NFU president Meurig Raymond.

Part of the solution lay in a fairer supply chain that enabled farmers to invest in production, he said.

Supermarkets must end bad practice and politicians needed to ensure the groceries code adjudicator’s remit extended down the supply chain to cover farmers and growers, said Mr Raymond.

“It is time that retailers deliver on their corporate social responsibility plan and put aside the bad practices of the past. Retailers must commit to longer term contracts and longer term relationships.” 

But Defra secretary Liz Truss today (24 February) admitted there were no concrete plans to extend the remit of the groceries code adjudicator to indirect suppliers and cover the majority of farmer suppliers.

See also: Supermarkets committing multiple breaches of groceries code

Mr Raymond warned that the nation’s ability to feed itself was falling rapidly yet the British population was growing faster than any other large European country.

A report launched today by the NFU warned that the UK’s self-sufficiency would fall to just 53% within 25 years if current trends were not reversed, yet eight out of 10 British consumers wanted more British food

The nation’s self-sufficiency stood at 74% in 1991. But has already fallen to 60%.

“The British consumer wants – indeed expects – to be able to source British food. Yet if nothing is done, it will be far more difficult to achieve,” said Mr Raymond.

See all our coverage from the NFU conference