10 October 2000
NFU welcomes supermarket decision

By FWi staff

THE National Farmers Union has warmly welcomed the Competition Commission report published on Tuesday (10 October).

This recommends a legally binding code of practice to govern relationships between retailers and suppliers.

The report, published by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers, said relations between stores and suppliers, including farmers, should be put on a “clearer and more predictable basis”.

NFU president Ben Gill said the NFU had been working towards a code for the last two years after complaints from many farmers and growers.

Producers said they have felt under threat from the excessive or unreasonable demands of supermarket contracts.

He also welcomed the fact that the Competition Commission highlighted the problems caused by persistent selling below cost.

This has hit farmers and growers during the current agricultural depression, he said.

Mr Gill said: “An enforceable and robust code which sets in stone what supermarkets can and cant demand of their suppliers is excellent news.”

Key areas proposed for the code welcomed by the NFU include the recommendation for independent dispute resolution and written contracts with reasonable notice for changes.

The recommendation that retailers should not require suppliers to use third party suppliers was also welcomed.

Mr Gill added: “I believe the proposed code of practice will clear the air. It is now time for the food industry to work together.

“Farmers need a fair return for their produce and supermarkets need to realise that they need a viable British farming industry to supply them.”