Waitrose has launched a scheme to help farmers better manage costs, claiming producers will make “double-digit percentage savings”.

The Waitrose Farming Partnership is the new umbrella under which all its agricultural farmer-focused initiatives will now fall. As part of the initiative, farmers will be offered a branded membership of buying co-op Anglia Farmers.

“Last year we asked our farmers how we could help them build their businesses. They asked us if we could give them tools to help control their costs. This new deal does just that.”
Heather Jenkins

Waitrose Farming Partnership producers can become full AF shareholders at a discounted annual membership fee and with no joining fee, but will pay a levy of 0.9% rather than the standard 0.8%.

According to benchmarking carried out by Waitrose, AF members save around 2-10% on farm inputs, 50% on mobiles and landlines and 20% on electricity, for example, compared with non-AF producers.

“Last year we asked our farmers how we could help them build their businesses. They asked us if we could give them tools to help control their costs. This new deal does just that,” said director of agricultural strategy Heather Jenkins.

Waitrose is also conducting what it described as “groundbreaking research” into domestically grown protein for livestock which aims to help reduce farmer dependence on imported soya for animal feed.