24 May 2000
Farmers’ markets worth 65m a year

By FWi staff

FARMERS markets are a major contributor to farm incomes, with an annual turnover of about 65 million, claims a report released on Wednesday (24 May).

Two years ago, farmers markets were virtually unknown in Britain. But in the past six months the number of individual sites has risen 60% to about 200.

If the current trend continues, turnover could top 100m by next spring, said the report, compiled for the National Association of Farmers Markets.

Charlotte Bullock, the associations co-ordinator, said that the report, prepared by the NFU, showed that farmers markets were not just a flash in the pan.

She added: “They are here to stay, with shoppers turning up in droves to buy top quality fresh British produce.”

About 5.2m people will visit a farmers market over the next year to sample a diverse range of locally-made food sold by the people who produced it.

Tim Bennett, NFU deputy president, said: “The huge proliferation of markets shows how important they have become to modern-day producers.”

Almost all the respondents to the survey said that the main reason farmers attended the markets was to secure vital extra income.

Duncan Penny, a farmer from Lancashire, said: “I would have gone out of business had it not been for farmers markets.”

Over 75% of the markets are thriving, with 70% of respondents saying that their market had also increased trade for local businesses, the report revealed.