3 September 1999

Co-operate now

CEREAL producers must co-operate or risk going out of business.

That is the stark conclusion of Nuffield Scholar Pamela Gladwin, after a tour of the US, Canada, France and Poland looking at comparative wheat production costs.

"Farmers have been talking about co-operating in the UK for some time: They need to start acting now, before it is too late," she says.

Growers suppliers and customers are becoming fewer, larger and stronger. To compete growers should join forces in buying and marketing, as well as spreading fixed costs. Trends towards fewer, larger extensive arable farms, and smaller, intensive, specialised family farms will continue, she says.

"It is time for farmers to stop producing commodities and to become much more aware of what their customers really want. Perhaps a good starting point would be to read Milling and Baking News, and not just farmers weekly." &#42