1 November 2001
Organic farmers wary of Tesco bid

By Isabel Davies

TESCO, Britains largest supermarket, has been urged to give preference to British organic food rather than importing vast amounts of produce.

Soil Association director Patrick Holden said domestic food must be given priority in Tesco plans to grow organic sales to 1bn within 5 years.

Three-quarters of organic food in the UK is currently imported and it is vital that Tesco operates a British first policy, he said.

Tesco claims it is already cutting the price of organic food in its stores. But Mr Holden said the retailer must support the industry long-term.

A combination of price wars and supermarket failure to be loyal to British producers had driven prices below cost of production, he added.

Thousands of farmers face bankruptcy, said Mr Holden. Supermarkets must recognise they have to pay a fair price for organic produce.

Organic farmers need to be assured that supermarkets will support them by paying a fair price that reflects the true cost of production.

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